P089
Roma/Gypsy resilience beyond marginality?

Convenors:
Catalina Tesar (Museum of the Romanian Peasant)
Martin Fotta (Goethe-Universit├Ąt Frankfurt am Main)
Discussant:
Jan Grill (University of Manchester)
Location:
S-412
Start time:
3 August, 2014 at 11:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We invite contributions based on intimate yet multifaceted ethnographic portrayals of diverse Romany people as enmeshed in relations with others to conceptualize resilience and diversity of Roma/Gypsies socio-cosmological figurations, beyond structural explanations and marginality.

Long abstract:

The fall of the Iron Curtain engendered the supplementing and even replacing of national CEE ethnologies grounded in ahistorical views of peasantry with anthropologies attuned to broader political economies. Likewise, stimulated by an intensified conversation across national traditions, a growing body of scholarship emerged in the field of Romany studies, overcoming the old interest in Gypsy folklore and customs with an approach that examines these populations' cosmological choices as a product of their lives amidst non-Gypsies. The concept of marginality, in which the analysis of European power disparities and socio-political restructuring mapped along state borders was coached, seemed to be the most appropriate to characterize the structural position of Romany populations. Thus certain Romany attitudes towards time, work and personhood appeared as subversions of the dominant values and responses to encapsulation by the majority (Stewart 1997). Recent reconfigurations of the EU witnessed intensified spatial and social movement - downward and upward - of Gypsies; today, in individual populations, we find a whole spectrum of socio-economic positions and cultural configurations from extreme poverty to affluence, from representing lives in "tradition" to those from which socio-cultural orientation seems absent, from political disenfranchisement to ethnic activism, from localized to cosmopolitan existences; therefore, the question : Is there an alternative to conceptualising resilience and diversity of Romany socio-cosmological figurations through structural explanations? In order to rethink the persistence of Gypsies beyond marginality, we invite contributions that provide multifaceted ethnographic portrayals of diverse Romany populations as enmeshed in intimate and historically contingent relations with others.