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Performing Hospitality in Moldova: Ambiguous, Alternative, and Undeveloped Models of National Identity

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This paper examines performances of hospitality in everyday life to explore the lived experience of “being Moldovan”. National identity in Moldova can only be understood by reference to the peculiarities of history—to the presence of a neighbouring kin-state (Romania), a multiethnic population, Soviet ideology, and successive efforts at nation-building. The instabilities, contradictions, and ambiguities of national identity are also experienced and interpreted, as they are regularly performed in informal and formal settings. The “hospitality” of Moldovans—performed daily through linguistic code-switching, in practices of buying and selling, in life-cycle celebrations such as weddings, and in the official greeting and welcoming of dignitaries and visiting delegations by folk-costumed performers—is, paradoxically, an important site of this experience of ambiguity. The same set of practices both renders its performers “masters of their own houses”, while at the same time revealing the limits of the metaphor.
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Keywords: Hospitality; Nation-Building; Performance; Republic of Moldova

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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