Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
The paper explores the politics of everyday life at the margins of Bucharest, Romania. It traces the emergence of homing infrastructures within socio-technical conditions that for the many are a matter of uninhabitability, showing how those are navigated, assembled and made to count. The ethnography revolves around a tunnel passing under the city central train station, where a number of homeless people established their home for years. Amid racialised histories of neglect, drug consumption and very precarious material conditions, the community of Gara de Nord have brought to the fore a form of life made of care practices, social bonding, and collective identity. In interrogating how life was made possible within those underground tunnels, the paper reflects on the meaning of navigating the city from its cracks and margins. It focuses on the freight of history, a vitalist take on infrastructure and an affective take on bodies to problematize navigation as something exceeding intentionality but also, at the same time, signalling more than mere resilience. The conclusion reflects on the unspoken politics of the underground and its ‘weird propositions’.