Kathryn Cassidy

Society and Household Economics in the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands

Funded by the ESRC’s 1+3 programme

Kathryn’s thesis explores the societal impact of the ongoing challenges of securing stable income and gaining access to affordable goods and services amongst rural communities in the Ukrainian-Romanian borderlands. In particular, it looks at the ways in which informal economic activities, such as cross-border trade and migrant labour, have come to dominate the local economy and the resultant changes in local social values and perceptions. The thesis has a social anthropological framework and is based upon more than 15 months of participant and non-participant observation in two rural communities on either side of the Ukrainian-Romanian border in Chernivets’ka oblast, Ukraine and Suceava County, Romania.


Kathryn has a BA (Hons) in Geography with East European Studies from Nottingham and an MA in Central and East European Studies from SSEES/UCL. She joined CREES in 2005 after a number of years working in the financial sector in London and in the 2005/2006 academic year gained an MA in Russian and East European Studies. Kathryn spent 3 months learning Ukrainian language at the Ukrainian Catholic University in L’viv in the summer of 2007, before carrying out her fieldwork in Chernivets’ka oblast. Kathryn also speaks Romanian and from January 2010 until July 2010, she will be based at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania for a Marie Curie SocAnth Fellowship. She will be carrying out research into the informal economy and ethnic relations in the region of Maramures.


  • 2009 Guest Lecturer, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, UK, Methods of Area Studies Research II (Postgraduate)
  • 2008 Lecturer, Department of International Relations, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine.
  • Anthropology of Political and Economic Change in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Undergraduate)
  • 2006-2007 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, UK, Research Methods (Undergraduate)

Selected Conferences and Presentations

‘‘They are such poor people’: The impact of cross-border economic activities on ethno-national perspectives in the Ukrainian-Romanian borderlands’ presented in the Department of European Studies and Modern Languages at the University of Bath on 3rd November 2009 as part of a seminar series on Migration and Ethnicity.

‘Carrying out Participant and Non-Participant Observation amongst Economically-Marginalised Groups in the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands’ presented at SSEES, UCL on 23rd September 2009 as part of the CEELBAS Postgraduate Ethics Workshop.

‘Re-creating Bukovyna/Bucovina: Understanding New Socio-Economic Relations in the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands’ presented at CREES, University of Birmingham on 20th May 2009 as part of the CREES Current Affairs Seminar Series.

‘Becoming Bukovynian: Reflections on Multi-Sited Ethnographic Fieldwork in the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands’ presented at the School of Government and Society: Postgraduate Research Colloquium at the University of Birmingham in February 2009.

‘Space and Identity: Framing an Ethnographic Study of Bukovyna’ presented at the conference Ukraine – Romania - Moldova: Historical, Political and Cultural Relations in the Context of Modern European Processes at Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in September 2007.


Cassidy, K (2009, forthcoming) ‘Citizenship, Nationality and Ethnicity in the Ukrainian-Romanian Borderlands’ in Codrul Cosminului Vol. 15.

Cassidy, K and M. Felis (2008) ‘Reflections on Self in the Anthropological Study of Identity: Theory and Practice of Autoethnography in Fieldwork on Both Sides of the Greek-Albanian Border’ in Nitsiakos, V. et al Balkan Border Crossings LIT: Berlin.


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