Banished from society: Roma in post-Communist Albania and in independent Kosovo
Enkelejda Raxhimi (University of Sherbrooke)
Paper short abstract:
These past two decades, unearthed ways of population management in Albania and Kosovo, driven by nationalist discourses with disastrous consequences on the lives of the Roma. This paper attempts to explore the different facets of violence exercised against Roma in Albania and Kosovo.
Paper long abstract:
The traumatic transition from Communism to the dismemberment of centralized state, as is the case of Albania, or the violent dissolution of the Yugoslav federation into new nation-states, which is the case of Kosovo, marked the past two decades in those two Western Balkan societies, unearthing other ways of population management. Such processes, advanced and driven by nationalist projects and discourses have had disastrous consequences on the lives of the Roma in those two countries. Based on recollections and narratives of Roma in post-Yugoslav Kosovo and post-Communist Albania, and drawing from the Foucauldian notions of biopolitics and biopower, this paper intends to shed light on how exclusion and racism against Roma were crafted and remodeled in the new political contexts. Roma have not been part of the nation-state building and consolidation, which informed those two societies in the last twenty-years. Whether targeted by physical violence in post-war Kosovo, or ignored, systematically disqualified or left in the disarray of structural violence in Albania, the Roma become object of ostracism by the endeavors of the ethnic state. We would further argue that they linger in a vicious cycle of persistent exclusion created and maintained by the technologies of power exercised through a bureaucratic system; and the attitudes of the majority non-Roma population. This paper attempts to explore the different facets of violence exercised against Roma in Albania and Kosovo, and argues that the Roma represent the banished in those societies.
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