Call for the next issue of Slovak Ethnology/ Slovenský národopis volume 66, number 4/ 2018

LABEL “ROMA” - IMPACTS AND IMPLICATIONS ON POLICIES AND CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITIES IN EUROPEAN DISCOURSE

HOSTING EDITORS: TATIANA PODOLINSKÁ AND DANIEL ŠKOBLA

European institutions, governments, various national policymakers and decision makers and as well as many scholars, not to speak about the general public, operate with the term “Roma” as if it were a fixed appellation for a monolithic ethnic group. Policies of the Council of Europe, different position papers, EU strategies for inclusion of Roma and other texts and approaches label various groups of people and identities of different Romani, Sinti, Travellers and various other origins under one roof.

Moreover, the label “Roma”, as it is used in the most of these documents and in political (often populist) and public discourse is contaminated with implications of “socially excluded”, “vulnerable”, “dependent on external help”, “affected by severe poverty”, “uneducated” and many others adjectives which are attractive enough to generate resources for strategies, proposals, measures and action plans for example for “inclusion of Roma” or “increasing education level”. No doubts, it is not possible to deny that a great number of persons belonging to various groups and subgroups of Roma, Sinti, Gypsies and Travellers and other groups live in segregated conditions in deep economic poverty and are affected by discrimination in many spheres of life and without doubt deserve better conditions in society in order that their rights could be exercised freely and equally as other European citizens. But these facts cannot be used as an excuse for generalisation leading to a unifying approach and policies often misused and mislead by those who design them. In this regard, it seems that this unifying and generalising discourse placing together a variety of groups of Roma and variety of social categories is just dangerous simplification and in the end it devaluates the sense of identity and keeps the patterns of paternalistic approaches still in existence.

In addition, this discourse is created and fuelled by “outsiders”, non-Roma, without understanding emic perspectives lacking deep insight and without sensitivity towards diversity and heterogeneity of identities and social strata of those labelled as Roma. When such discourse is reflected in and transformed into specific interventions, (and indeed reconfirmed by many social scientists) it creates new strains and prevents any participatory and bottom-up positions. On the other hand, at the same time, it is reflected by Romani activists, leaders, scholars and representatives who call for ownership and better control over resources, political influence and public discourse, which can be viewed by many as emerging Romani nationalism. Whatever it may be called, it is a logical and understandable reaction to the long lasting political and social hegemony of “white” or non-Roma stakeholders.
 
We invite scholars focusing on different aspects of Romani Studies, specifically ethnology, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, history or political science, and other disciplines to contribute to the prepared thematic issue of the Slovak Ethnology by papers based on their own research and findings. We hope to receive papers presenting plurality of models how labelling Roma prevents or contributes to construction of identities and policies. It can provide more context on how it impacts various approaches towards Roma political representations, Roma and pro-Roma civil society, how Roma identities are changed, defined or re-defined. The authors can analyse current discourses in this field in the political arena or in the academic sphere, or can present new empirical data addressing the controversies or synergies between emic (intragroup) and ethic (heterogroup) approaches among the labelled groups.

  • What classifications are used in public policies and interventions to address the so-called "Roma issues"?
  • What principles do they respect? Do they consider emic or rather ethic classifications?
  • To what extent are the Roma, Sinti, Gypsies and Travellers and others placed in the position of "automatic" recipients of ascribed “group” classifications?
  • On the other hand, what does "Roma mean" from the point of view of Roma, what are the advantages and barriers that come from "Roma" in everyday life?
  • What emic classifications are used by the Roma, Sinti, Gypsies and Travellers themselves within specific local coherent groups, on what basis do they form and in what situations do they use them?

Submission guidelines: please follow the guidelines for submissions as given on the website of Slovak Ethnology/ Slovenský národopis

Final date for abstracts: 16. 4. 2018
Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by the end of April, 2018 and will then be invited to submit a full paper. An invitation to submit a full paper does not constitute a commitment for publication; all papers will be subject to anonymous peer review following the submission.

Final date for papers: 31. 7. 2018

Please send your abstract as an e-mail attachment to the editors, at slovensky.narodopis@savba.sk

Apart from contributions focused on the above mentioned issues, year round the journal Slovak Ethnology/ Slovenský národopis also invites major articles, research reports, essays, discussions, overviews, annotations, book reviews and review essays beyond the thematic call for papers.

 

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