The role of identity in the 2015 Romanian shepherd protests

  • Thomas O’Brien, Remus Creţan
  • Identities, January 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/1070289x.2017.1400322

The Role of Identity in the 2015 Romanian Shepherd Protests

What is it about?

The aims of the paper are to (1) place the shepherd protests in the context of post-communist mobilisations in Romania, and (2) consider the ways in which competing cultural and environmental claims are presented and managed in the valuing of the shepherd identity that remains rooted in traditional rural practices.

Why is it important?

Shepherds have a special place in the history and culture of Romania. For centuries they have had rights to graze their sheep in public pastures and manage them using traditional methods. Recent changes at the national and European level have presented a threat to this way of life and provoked protest gatherings in Bucharest. The most recent of these saw 3000 shepherds gather in December 2015 and charge the parliament buildings, leading to a stand-off with riot police, over plans to limit sheepdog numbers and restrict winter grazing rights.


Dr Remus Cretan
west university of Timisoara

This paper examines the nature of the perceived challenges to the shepherd's way of life and how they have responded.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Remus Cretan