Contesting Post-Communist Economic Development: Gold Extraction, Local Community, and Rural Decline in Romania

Nicoleta Rîşteiu, Remus Creţan, Tom O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plans to open a globally significant gold mine at Roşia Montană, in the Transylvanian region of Romania, have led to decades of controversy and struggle. This paper explores different understandings of extraction amongst advocates for and opponents of the mine over the last two decades. We discuss the shifting roles of capital, the state, civil society organizations, and the local community over time, arguing for the need to distinguish between their different positions on mining. In particular, we contend that the understanding of extraction promoted by the owners of the mine, and by the local community, is fundamentally different in terms of cultural, social, and economic priorities. The local community argue for a traditional type of mining, embedded in local ownership and established labor identities, whereas the neoliberal vision of capital for the Roşia Montană site is that of a globally competitive, technologically advanced form of extraction. In uncovering and developing these hermeneutic differences, the paper reveals that pro-traditional development attitudes among economically marginalized groups are not necessarily attuned to the material global interconnections shaping neoliberal capitalism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEurasian Geography and Economics
Early online date14 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s).


  • Extraction
  • Activism
  • Roşia Montană
  • Depopulation
  • Civil Society
  • Community
  • Mining

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