The romani community history culture social and political organisation
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The Romani community (history, culture, social and political organisation). WEEK 2 Lecturer: Lucie Cviklová. Gypsies as a specific ethnic community.

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The romani community history culture social and political organisation

The Romani community (history, culture, social and political organisation)


Lecturer: Lucie Cviklová

Gypsies as a specific ethnic community
Gypsies as a specific ethnic community organisation)

  • Gypsies in Eastern and Central Europe are defined as a specific intergroup ethnic community which has no parallel among other European nations

  • This ethnic community is composed of various metagroups, groups and subgroups

  • The statistics are not reliable

  • Only 32,903 people declared themselves as Roma in the Czech Republic‘s census in 1991, but experts estimated their numbers as up to ten times higher

The most important migrations of roma in modern times
The most important migrations of Roma in modern times organisation)

  • From the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th – the period of migration was determined by the ending of slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia and the subsequent scattering of Gypsies all over the world

  • 1960s and 1970s – open borders of former Yugoslavia during the period of Tito‘s rule led to the „Yugoslav wave“ of Gypsy migrations, mainly heading for West Germany

  • 1990 onwards – the end of the so-called socialist period in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and subsequent changes leading to the most recent of Gypsy migrations-westwards

Several basic policy models of romani integration
Several basic policy models of Romani integration organisation)

  • The Ottoman Empire model – the civil status of Gypsies is preserved but lower than that of non-Gypsies, the policies strived to maintain status quo

  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire model (can be applied to the territory of the Czech Republic) – state controls the lives of Gypsies, the nature of the model is total enforced assimilation

  • The Russian Empire model – characterised by the non-interference in the internal life of Gypsies. The policy aims are sporadic attempts at integration but lack of any consistent policy

Two fundamental patterns in the relationship between the non gypsies and gypsies
Two fundamental patterns in the relationship between the non-Gypsies and Gypsies

  • Traditional pattern

    – manifested differently in particular cultural and historical regions

    - The Gypsies, although categorised as alien and regarded as having a detached status in relation to mainstream society are nevertheless seen as inseparable part of society

  • National pattern (first appeared during the Enlightenment).

    • Gradually became dominant in the era of modern nation-states

    • Attitudes towards Gypsies are determined by the requirements of the ethno-national state, which considers them self-evidently as an actual or more commonly potential threat

The situation of gypsies under socialism
The situation of Gypsies under socialism non-Gypsies and Gypsies

  • Not granted an equal status to that of other minorities

  • Thought to be a community not yet mature enough to be considered as nationality

  • The creation of Gypsy cultural and educational organisations was encouraged, but later on they were dissolved and their organisers were frequently persecuted

  • The general aim of Communist policy was to make Gypsies equal citizens of their countries but successful equalisation was understood to mean the complete assimilation of Gypsies so that they would swiftly vanish as a distinct community

The influence of regime changes in central and eastern europe towards gypsies
The influence of regime changes in Central and Eastern Europe towards Gypsies

  • The political changes such as velvet revolution did not bring about any tangible changes in the attitude of wider macro-society towards the Gypsies or in the main thrust of state policy towards them

  • The new period after the breakdown of the Communist regime has been characterized by the birth of the non-profit organizations

  • State social initiatives stimulated and supported the development of the Roma as a community and therefore today there are many thousands of relatively well-educated Roma, some with prestigious jobs – teachers, medical doctors, lawyers, military officers, journalists, artists, scientists, and so on.

The basic features of romani nationalism
The basic features of Romani nationalism Europe towards Gypsies

  • Romani nationalism is the most recent development trend in the Romani community

  • The general name Roma is used for all Gypsy subdivisions or as an aspiration to union of all Roma (similar processes have also occurred in other national movements)

  • Romani nationalism emphasises Holocaust and standardisation of Romani languages

  • Romani nationalists want to rediscover their forgotten Romani ancestors (these are possibly only imaginary)

Development w ithin t he c ommunity
Development Europe towards Gypsieswithin the community

  • The Romani interethnic community has been going through internal changes; it is not static in terms of its ethno-social structure or features

  • New divisions within subgroups emerge and consequently new Romani groups are created

  • Integral group distinctions dissolve and previously separate groups merge creating different hierarchical levels of metagroup unity

  • After the break-up of the old empires and the emergence of new states in Central and Eastern Europe a new level of Romani identity has appeared –a feeling of belonging to particular states

Roma ni h olocaust
Roma Europe towards GypsiesniHolocaust

  • The Romani Holocaust was the result of the Nazi plan to have a Gypsy-free Europe

  • In September 1935, Roma became subjects to the restrictions of the Nurnberg Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour, which forbade intermarriage between Germans and non-Aryans, specifically Jews, Roma and people of African descent.

  • In 1938, the first reference to The Final Solution of the Gypsy Question appeared in print in a document dated 24 March, and again in an order issued by Himmler on 8 December that year

  • The count of half a million Sinti and Roma murdered between 1939 and 1945 is too low to be tenable, since there are no reliable statistics from some regions (in the eastern territories, in Russia especially, Romani deaths were at times entered into records under the heading of Jewish deaths)

Questions for the seminar
Questions for the seminar Europe towards Gypsies

  • Try to describe the historical development of the Romani community in the Czech Republic

  • What do you know about the memorial dedicated to the Romani Holocaust in the Czech Republic?

  • Try to explain the issues/problems surrounding the census in relation to the Romani people (on the basis of the readings)