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Research Students - Material Culture
Razvan Nicolescu  
Razvan Nicolescu  


Twitter: @razvanni


I am currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork in southeast Italy on the usage of social media and new technology. In particular, I am interested in the relation between people's practices and the different social ideals that act upon them.

This is part of the research project called Social Networking Sites and Social Science that aims at understanding the impact of social media on the world population. Specific information could be found on the project web site, the research blog, and the Facebook page of the research project.

My PhD thesis is called ‘Boredom and Social Alignment in Rural Romania.’ The thesis discusses people's sense of appropriate alignment between the external pressures of moral and political economy and the internal subjective sense of aspiration of who one wants to be. I explain why and how the ethnography of boredom effectively maps out this relation. The thesis suggests that individual boredom is not simply a consequence of how society is designed to function, or actually functions, but rather boredom objectifies the individual and group consumption of their designated social position.


PhD in Anthropology
University College London, Anthropology (2008-13)

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)


2014. ‘The Normativity of Boredom: Communication Media among Romanian Teenagers.’ In Anne Line Dalsgård, Martin Demant Frederiksen, Susanne Højlund, and Lotte Meinert, eds., Time Objectified: Ethnographies of Youth and Temporality. Philadelphia (PA): Temple University Press.

2011. ‘Material Culture as Ethnography: Value, Work and Modernity in Rural Romania.’ In Studia Sociologia, 56(2): 123-35.

2011. ‘Solid Houses and Distant Homes: The Morality of Domestic Space in Southeast Romania.’ In Martor, The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant Anthropology Review, Vol. 16, pp: 69-79.

2010. ‘Telefonul mobil. Adolescenţi mobilizaţi’ (The Cell Phone. Mobilized Teenagers). In Vintilă Mihăilescu, ed., Etnografii urbane. Cotidianul văzut de aproape. ('Urban Ethnographies. Close-up to Everyday Life'), pp. 173-208. Iaşi: Polirom.


2006. Co-author of ‘Living Professions’ (7’) and ‘Portrait’’ (12’). Produced by University of Bucharest and The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant.

Lectures presented

In Autumn term 2012-13 I convened together with Tom McDonald the post-graduate course called ‘Anthropology of Media and Mass Consumption’ at the Department of Anthropology, UCL.

In 2012 I was invited lecturer with the title ‘Media and Boredom’ in post-graduate course at the Department of Anthropology, UCL.

Academic / regional interests:

Material and visual culture, media & digital anthropology, consumption, emotions, moral and ideal systems, modernity / Balkans, Central and southeast Europe, Mediterranean space.

Professional Memberships

European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
Romanian Society for Cultural Anthropology (SACR)


2009-11 Graduate Research Scholarship, UCL
2008-9  Central Research Fund Grant, University of London
2008-9  Graduate Research Bursary in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, UCL
2007  Studentship, The Romanian Cultural Centre, UK

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