Fighting fire and drafting contracts: legal boundaries and practical hindrances of state building in the new Romania
Greater Romania, as a successor state of both the Tsarist and the Habsburg Empires fcaed the challenge of creating a state from four different composite elemnts with their various legal and social traditions. While the leaders of the new state made an initial attempt to bring about the unification of the legal system quickly, apart from a few exemptions – administration, eucation – broad swathes of life remained regulated by old laws and norms. The diversity of such regulations not only made knowledge and experience invaluable and enhanced career chances, it also entrenched vested interest, safeguarded socila prcatices and customs and created situations in which conflict lines delineated and united unexpected groups. It was thus, not only the sheer volume of existing and indispensable legislation that hindered nationstate-building in a practical sense, it was more the society these laws and norms reflected or shaped. My paper attempts to show the infleunce of such arrangements on how actually Greater Romania developed thrugh the example of Transyvanian voluntary firefighter associations and public notaries all over the countries. These cases offer a glimpse at the divisions within Romania’s society and also at how certain interest were to be safeguarded against Bucharest, thus revealing the complex interactions wiwthin the state and with the society.