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PhD working title: Boredom and the technology of boredom in rural Romania
My research explores boredom, particularly in relation with the consumption of technology and new media in rural Romania. It amounts to the material culture studies of technology, media, consumption, and human subjectivities.
One of the key arguments in my thesis is that boredom is not simply a sort of unproblematic suspension of the individual trapped within an increasingly congested society, but rather it stands for unexpected cultural responses to modernity. In its turn, technology in general, and new media in particular, are important not because of what they enable people to do, but because of how people do articulate their individual or collective subjectivities through them.
I start by showing how, in the context of the current fast social and economic transformations in Romania, this rather customary setting epitomizes the locus where the recent assembled consciousness of the present is challenged. I am suggesting that 'modern' boredom emerged together with the imposition of new institutions, values, and norms that radically shaped the self-consciousness of the very people that were supposed to sustain them. All along this process, technology was used to weaken the myriad of social constraints, in the favor of more materially ease and rigorously self-determined ones. Furthermore, I suggest that the intimate relation between boredom and technology distinctively objectifies the paradoxes of modernity set forth.
Finally, I look at the way boredom acts as a sort of acceptable social cover for resistance, disapproval, or even hostility, in contrast to the indicting views of the current social policies and political interventions. Rooted in different individual and collective attitudes during socialism, I explore this particular boredom in relation with notions such as work, freedom and fun.
Primary supervisor: Prof. Daniel Miller
Secondary supervisor: Dr. Victor Buchli
MA in Material and Visual Culture (distinction)
University College London, Anthropology (2007-8)
MA in Anthropology and Social Development
National School for Administrative and Political Studies, Bucharest (2003-5)
MSc in New Systems for Telecommunications
University Polytechnic of Bucharest (1999-2000)
BSc in Telecommunications
University Polytechnic of Bucharest (1994-9)
2010. 'Telefonul mobil. Adolescenti mobilizati' (Cell Phones. Mobilized Teenagers). In Vintila Mihailescu, ed., Etnografii urbane. Cotidianul vazut de aproape. (Urban Ethnographies), pp. 173-208. Bucharest: Polirom.
2008. 'Feeling bored? Communication Technologies among Romanian Teenagers.' In Material World blog.
2006. 'Through Market Economy. From one Astonishment to the Next.' In Martor, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant Anthropology Review. 10: 150-7.
Also published in 2008 as 'Prin economia de piata. Uimire dupa uimire,' in Serban Anghelescu et al. eds. Marturii orale. Anii '90 si Bucurestenii, (Unwritten Histories. The '90s in Bucharest), pp. 257-75. Bucharest: Paideia.
2006. Co-author of 'Living Professions' (7') and 'Portrait' (12'), produced by University of Bucharest - Geomedia Center in association with the Romanian Peasant Museum.
2009 'Boredom. Materialities of New Moralities in Rural Romania,' at the Material Culture Day, UCL
2008 'Getting Bored? Mobile Phone Use among Romanian Teenagers,' at the 10th EASA Conference. Ljubljana, Slovenia.
2008 'From Emptiness to Excitement. A Technological Shuttle,' at the 5th European Conference on Complex Systems, Jerusalem, Israel.
Material and visual culture, consumption, technology, media & digital anthropology, emotions, subjectivity, modernity / Balkans, Central and South-East Europe
European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
Romanian Society for Cultural Anthropology (SACR)
2009-11Graduate Research Scholarship, UCL
2008-9 Central Research Fund Grant, University of London
2008-9 Alumni Scholarship, UCL
2008-9 Graduate Research Bursary in Anthropology, UCL - Anthropology
2008 Graduate School Research Funding, UCL
2008 Masters Research Bursary, UCL - Anthropology
2007 Studentship, The Romanian Cultural Centre, UK