Alina is an interdisciplinary scholar in the field of global labour studies. After completing her PhD in sociology and social anthropology at the Central European University, she held fellowships at Max Planck for the History of Science (Berlin), re:work (Berlin), New Europe College (Bucharest), Goldsmiths (London), and The Institute for Advanced Studies (Nantes).

Her first book, Planning Labour: Time and the Foundations of Industrial Socialism in Romania, was published in 2019 and received the 2020 ASEEES Ed A. Hewett Book Prize for Outstanding Publication on the Political Economy of Russia, Eurasia, and/or Eastern Europe: Honourable Mention. Her latest publications include ‘Socialist Accumulation and Its “Primitives” in Romania’ (International Review of Social History, 2022); ‘“It was quiet”: Pandemics as Normal Life in a Southern Romanian Town’ (2020), and ‘Why Hegemony Was Not Born in the Factory: Sciences of Labour and Politics of Productivity from a Gramscian Angle’, in Cultural Hegemony in a Scientific World: Gramscian Concepts for the History of Science, ed. by Massimiliano Badino and Pietro Daniel Omodeo (2020).

Working Models
ICI Project 2022-24

This project explores how and why specific claims about the future of work acquire performative power in the present through their incorporation into economic models. Drawing on how economists in the field of labour economics write, teach, and advise, the project aims to answer two core questions. First, how does the power to open or close certain futures hang upon the capacity of particular economic models to function as effective promissory utterances? Second, how is this performative power — in its most basic meaning of effecting things with words — constrained by the fact that certain social phenomena cannot be ‘modelled’ at all?

Alina Cucu suggests to look at the relationship between events-to-come and the models underpinning them as a material outcome of specific histories, practices, and representations. Revealing their articulating principles helps to understand why and how certain historical possibilities are foreclosed, and to find a fertile ground to thrive and give birth to new epistēmēs and technocratic concerns.