Monica Vasile is currently project director at Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy, and visiting fellow at the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems - IRI THESys - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Between January-June 2017 she is a research fellow at Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. Her research interests in the area of environmental & economic anthropology include: forest management and forest use; property relations, commons and local governance institutions; timber trade, forest-related economies and illegal practices; socialist and capitalist transformations; godparenthood and ritual practices.

Current project:  

The Atlas of Romanian Commons 

Associative Environmentality


Forthcoming 2018, Vasile M., Formalizing commons, registering rights: The making of the forest and pasture commons in the Romanian Carpathians from the 19th century to post-socialism, International Journal of the Commons

Forthcoming 2018, Vasile M., Emotions, governance, participation and the making of institutions: the case of pasture and forest commons in the Romanian Carpathians, special issue on Institutional Work, eds. Raoul Beunen and James Patterson, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Forthcoming 2018, Vasile M., The vulnerable bison: Practices and meanings of rewilding in the Romanian Carpathians, Conservation and Society

2018. Vasile M. The gift of the Godfather: money and reciprocal exchanges in spiritual kinship relationsin Transylvania, Journal of Family History 43(1): 30-50

2018. Vasile M., Cash J., Heady P. Contemporary Godparenthood in Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction, Journal of Family History 43(1): 3-11

2017. Bauer, N., Vasile M., Mondini M. The attitudes towards nature, wilderness and protected areas: a way to sustainable stewardship in the South-Western Carpathians, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

2015. Vasile M., Self-Sufficiency and “Being One’s Own Master” among Transylvanian Forest Dwellers, in edited volume, eds. Chris Hann and Steven Gudeman, Oikos and Market: Explorations in Self-Sufficiency after Socialism. London: Berghahn Books


2015.  Vasile M. The Role of Memory and Identity in the Obştea Forest Commons of Romania, in Patterns of Commoning, eds. David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, Transcript Verlag
2015. Vasile M. Die Anthropologie der Wälder: Über die Bedeutung von Erinnerung und Identität in rumänischen Gemeinschaftswäldern, in Die Welt der Commons: Muster gemeinsamen Handelns, eds.  Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, Transcript Verlag

2015. Vasile M.  The Trader's Wedding: Ritual Inflation and Money Gifts in Transylvania, in edited volume, eds. Steven Gudeman and Chris Hann, Economy and Ritual: Studies in Postsocialist Transformations. London: Berghahn Books

2015 Vasile M. Qu’est-ce que le communisme a fait au parrainage ? L’explosion du parrainagemultiple en Bucovine (Roumanie), in edited volume, eds. Vincent Gourdon and Isabelle Robin-Romero, Le parrainage en Europe et en Amérique. Pratiques de longue durée, XVIe-XXIe siècle, ed. Peter Lang

2012. Vasile M. Qui fait la déforestation en Roumanie? [in French] Partenair-Partenaire, nr. 22

2012. Vasile M. A typology of godparenthood practices, Annuaire Roumain d’Anthropologie, vol. 49

2010. Vasile M.  Territoriality versus kinship in “early” Europe. The Romanian case and the theses of Henri H. Stahl, [English] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 8, 2, pp. 21-44

2009. Vasile M., Mantescu L.  Property reforms in rural Romania and community-based forests, co-autor Liviu Mantescu, [English] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 7, 2 pp. 95-113

2009. Vasile M. Corruption in Romanian forestry: morality and local practice in the context of privatization, [English] Revista Româna de Sociologie (Romanian Revue of Sociology) 20, 1-2, pp. 105-120

2009. Vasile M. Regles de propriete et pratiques locales dans les forets communes villageoises de Vrancea: l'obstea d'aujourd'hui (Roumanie) [in French] pp. 93-105 in "Transitions foncières dans les Balkans: Roumanie, Albanie, Grèce" Options Méditerranéennes: Série A. no. 82. Montpellier: CIHEAM-IAMM, 108 p.

2009. Vasile M. Privatisation of forests from a sociological perspective. The extended case study of obştea vrânceană.  Analele Universităţii Ştefan Cel Mare, Suceava

2008. Vasile M. Nature conservation, conflict and discourses around forest management: communities and protected areas from Meridional Carpathians, [English] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 6, 3-4, pp. 87-100

2008. Vasile M.  Un fond fără formă: obştea vrânceană. Statuar şi cutumiar în dinamica definirii unui sistem de proprietatea colectivă [Meanings without forms­ "the obște" in Vrancea. Statutory and customary processes in the dynamics of defining a system of collective ownership] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 6, 1, pp. 56-73

2007. Vasile M.  Sense of property, deprivation and memory in the case of Obștea Vrânceană. [English] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 5, 2, pp. 114-129

2007. Vasile M. Tradition, modernity and continuity in the collective property form of the Region of Vrancea, Romania, co-authored with Monica Popa-Șișeștean, Acta Musei Porolisensis, vol. 27

2006. Vasile M. Property relations and socially embedded institutions: reopening the study of obștea in Vrancea. [English] Romanian Journal of Sociology 17, 1-2

2006. Vasile M. Obștea today in the Vrancea Mountains of Romania: self-governing institutions of forest commons, [English] Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology) 4, 3, pp. 111-130

Selected presentations

2016. May 10th-14th, Bern, Swizerland.European Conference of IASC (International Association for the Study of the Commons), Paper: Multiple Meanings of Forest Commons: producing laws and policies in the Romanian Carpathians

2016. March 20th - 24th, Stockholm, Sweden. Undisciplined Environments - International Conference of the European Network of Political Ecology.
Paper: The good, the bad and the ugly: struggles in the Romanian forest commons

2015. Sept 30 –Oct 3, Marburg, Germany, conference of German Anthropological Association (GAA) Paper: The Crisis: rhythm and turning points 

2014. November 7-8, București, Romanian Academy of Sciences, conference of Eurasian Agrofood and Land Initiative  (ISS, NL) “Food, farmland and Forests in Transition, the Eurasian Countryside 25 years After”

2014. July 31 - August 3, Tallin, Estonia, 12th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Paper: Contested meanings: Laying the grounds for forest commons grabbing in the Romanian Carpathians

2012. July 10-13, Paris Nanterre, France, 12th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Paper: Ritual construction of money-gifts: forest traders and wedding inflation in Transylvania

2011. November 16‐20, Montreal, Canada, 110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Paper: Emic understandings of self‐sufficiency in forest-related communities: the interplay between autonomy and dependency

2011. April 28-May 1, Regensburg, Germany, 6th Conference of International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA)
Paper: Does crisis increase calculation? Timber trade, risks and work in the highlands of Romania

2010. November 8-9, Manchester, UK, Conference Temporal Relations and Change
Paper: Timber trade, possibility and the different qualities of time in the Carpathian Mountains

2010. August 24‐27, Maynooth, Ireland, 11th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
Paper: Hope stronger than anguish: timber traders imagining the future in times of crisis

2010. July 1-3, Budapest, Hungary, Marie Curie conference “Emerging Social Structures and New Anthropologies”
Paper: Capitalism meets post-socialism: timber trade in the highlands of Romania