Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenge of interpreting the growth in arbitrage opportunities at the Ukrainian‐Romanian border within a rural Ukrainian border community. The author illustrates that whilst the proliferation of economic activity through the border has provided a boost to the local economy, it has also led to the development of discursive performance around these practices within rural Ukrainian communities, which both mitigates the potentially negative impacts of economic growth in Romania and also reflects emerging views of consumption as a cultural competence. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on more than 18 months of participant observation in three rural communities on either side of the Ukrainian‐Romanian border between September 2007 and May 2010. Findings – The discursive performance of consumption has emerged as an important means for the production of values amongst the low income households of Diyalivtsi (pseudonym). As part of this performance, the villagers of Diyalivtsi differentiate themselves from their Romanian neighbours through critical analysis of Romanian consumption practices, which are viewed through the prism of cross‐border economies. Originality/value – This is one of the first papers to consider how the diverse economies of post‐socialism are (re)performed in the communities in which they have become embedded. Rather than seeking to theorise or quantify cross‐border economies and the practices of trading and consumption, it illuminates the social aspects of them for rural Ukrainian communities.
|International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
|Published - 25 Oct 2011