Corruption, Șmecherie, and Siliconization: Retrospective and Speculative Technoculture in Postsocialist Romania

McElroy, Erin Mariel Brownstein
Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience

This article explores socialist and postsocialist technoculture in postsocialist Romania, focusing upon both retrospective and speculative accounts of what did, and what could have, transpired beyond the purview of the state and of capitalism. Upon a backdrop of postsocialist Siliconization and Western anticorruption politics, it looks to queer, corrupt, and deviant technological practices that pervert normative and Western accounts of socialism and its transition. In particular, this article sifts through speculative and retrospective accounts of hackers, computer cloners, and political artists and organizers, many of whom narrate technocultural practices of șmecherie—a Romanian word with Romani roots inferring cunningness and cleverness. These narrations, imaginations, and speculations, I suggest, corrupt postsocialist Siliconization and anticorruption politics through practices of cloning, play, excess, and kinship.