Accepted paper:

Genealogies of spiritual empowerment: Roma communities facing the neo-liberal ghettoization of poverty

Authors:

Sorin Gog (Babes-Bolyai University)

Paper short abstract:

My paper focuses on the massive conversion of Roma to Pentecostalism in present-day Romania and on the religious songs, prophecies and new technologies of the self that are employed in order to deal with the neo-liberal disempowerment and marginalization of Roma in Central and Eastern Europe.

Paper long abstract:

My paper focuses on the massive conversion of Roma to Pentecostalism in present-day Romania and on the religious songs, prophecies and new technologies of the self that are employed in order to deal with the neo-liberal disempowerment and marginalization of Roma throughout Central and Eastern Europe. I am analyzing the specific ways in which the religious assemblies emerging within the ghettos are generating institutional and symbolic resources which enable a new form of community-building and religious narratives of ethnic identity. Drawing on Foucault's work on bio-politics and the new technologies of power that have their genealogy in the formation of an ordo-liberal state, on Agamben's work on Homo Sacer (state of exception and the politics of bare life) and on the recent scholarship focusing on the role of trans-national capitalism in the expansion EU towards East - I show that the post-communist period has inaugurated a new dramatic form of excluding the Roma which is inscribed in state structures and prevailing market ideologies. This is not something new for neo-liberal regimes: as Wacquant has shown in the case of US, at the core of 'liberal-democratic' state lays a cluster of devices that correlate the market reforms with the retrenchment of welfare and the penalization and ghettoization of poor people. Relying on extensive ethnographies of marginalized communities, my paper analyzes the way Roma make use of religious narratives, millenarian visions and mobilizing sermons to face the recent trends towards a neo-liberal ghettoization of poverty.

panel P061
Religious trends toward intimacy and revolution