1 I conducted the ethnographic fieldwork for this book in Bucharest, Romania,
from June 2007 to June 2008 and from June 2010 to November 2011, with shorter
research trips to Bucharest in the summers of 2009 and 2012. Throughout the
book I use pseudonyms when referring to the men and women I interviewed
and observed in order to protect their anonymity. In certain ethnographic
vignettes, I have obscured or changed minor details that are immaterial to the
analysis but that could be used to reveal a person’s identity. I draw the quotations
for this book from recorded and transcribed interviews and from detailed notes.
With rare exception, these interviews were conducted in Romanian. I translated
and edited transcripts and field notes cautiously and with great care to preserve
the original meaning and emotion of the ethnographic moment. To that end,
I use ellipses within quotes to punctuate the moments when voices trail off or
when speakers struggle to find words, rather than to denote the omission of
small phrases, repetitive information, or extraneous details.
2 Joanne Passaro, The Unequal Homeless: Men on the Streets, Women in Their Place
(New York: Routledge, 1996).
3 For the law defining homelessness, see Romania, Parlamentul României, LEGE
Nr. 292 / 2011, 2011.
4 Dimitrina Petrova, “The Roma: Between a Myth and the Future,” Social Research
70, no. 1 (2003): 111–61.
5 The Chicago school of sociology characterizes homeless persons as leading
adventurous lives. In the early twentieth century, working-class men looking to
escape the boredom of routinized factory or farm work took to the rails to live a
hobo lifestyle of travel, drunkenness, and law breaking. See Nels Anderson, The
Hobo: The Sociology of the Homeless Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
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