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Ancestors, Domestic Groups, and the Socialist State: Housing Nationalization and Restitution in Romania

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2003

Liviu Chelcea
Affiliation:
Anthropology, University of Michigan

Extract

As in the vast majority of socialist states that arose with the Soviet Union's post-World War II hegemony over Eastern Europe, People's Republic of Romania nationalized (confiscated) a large number of privately owned houses. The declared intention of the state was to eliminate housing inequality and the private rental sector in urban areas. In 1950, the state appropriated both leased and family homes that were considered to have too much domestic space. The inhabitants of confiscated houses became tenants instead of owners. Tenants were made to live with the former owners in such expropriated domestic space. With the collapse of state socialism in 1989, former owners and their descendants began seeking to regain the property rights for these confiscated houses. In a limited number of cases they succeeded, although the majority of houses had been sold by the state to the sitting tenants at very low prices.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Society for Comparative Study of Society and History

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