Accepted paper:

And what to do when there's nobody to follow? The public image of Romani heroes and celebrities

Authors:

István Povedák (Hungarian Academy of Sciences / University of Szeged)

Paper short abstract:

On the basis of Hungarian research data, this paper aims to analyze how Romani exemplary figures are represented in mass media and how their representation correlates with the stereotypical image of Romani in the wider society?

Paper long abstract:

It is a well-known fact in contemporary cultural research that identity, models of behavior, way of thinking, and world view of the upcoming generations are being determined ever more strongly by the various mass media, the information they supply, and the personalities they feature. Celebrities have functioned powerfully as points of orientation. They have an increasing role in forming public opinion or affecting identity (individual and social alike) in contemporary society. The image of certain political actions, religion or ethnic groups in the wider society are greatly dependent on the way they are represented in mass media. This way either positive or negative stereotypes of the represented group may evolve. Celebrities are more than just persons who are simply known for their well-knownness, they have deeper significance. Through their acts, opinion and represented image, they can function as orientation points for the society similar to historical heroes. On the basis of Hungarian research data, this paper aims to analyze how Romani exemplary figures are represented in mass media and how their representation correlates with the stereotypical image of Romani in the wider society? What sort of actions and attitudes might evolve from the symbolic content of their image? How does their figure contribute to the evoking of their groups ethnic and national identity, how do their image help the integration to society?

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Gesturing toward utopia: the politics of exemplarity