H21: Öráreitni: Fordómar og fræði...
(Romani) Pride & (anti-Romani) Prejudice in neoliberal Europe
The radicalization of anti-Romani sentiments and the increased difficulties faced by Europe‘s Romani population during the last two decades triggered growing concerns in the EU; hence, the outlining of programs supporting Roma-related initiatives, and the emergence of human rights and minority discourses that consolidated alongside an embryonic Romani political movement. The pro-Roma agenda focused on the fight against prejudices, which were identified as main source of discrimination against Roma throughout Europe. Despite many efforts, anti-Romani sentiments are growing stronger, the conditions of Romani communities in Europe are worsening, and Romani intellectuals and politicians are facing a problem of representation in front of the people (the Roma) they supposedly speak for.
This paper provides a glimpse of the complex landscape of the pro-Roma discourses carried out, in contemporary Europe, by institutional actors and NGOs, as well as Romani activists and intellectuals. It shows that the fight against prejudice and the struggle for political recognition pivot on other prejudices that, ironically, may confirm stereotypical images of the Roma as backward Others; and it argues that the neo-liberal agenda’s support to multiculturalism and Romani politics of recognition may at times walk hand in hand with anti-Romani sentiments.
Marco Solimene has a PhD degree in Social Anthropology, awarded in 2014 from the University of Iceland. He has been doing fieldwork in Romani communities since 1999 and at the moment is involved, as post-doctoral researcher of the University of Iceland, in two research projects concerning Roma: one project investigates Romani conceptualizations and practices of space and movement within the EU, the other is framed within the EEA-Research Programme “The Untold Story. An Oral History of the Roma People in Romania”.