The stable stranger

Constructing “the Roma” within the European neoliberal culture complex

in Focaal
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  • 1 Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway blombrod@ntnu.no
  • 2 Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway emil.royrvik@ntnu.no

Drawing on ethnographic material from Gitanos of Spain and current EU Roma integration policies, we explore the contemporary construction of the Roma ethnic group category as a specific type of “stranger” in the context of the European neoliberal culture complex. Our argument is that this classificatory reconstruction can be seen to work as a cultural prerequisite for the socio-political shaping and management of the Roma as a neoliberal “stable stranger.” This new stranger is based on constructing Roma as a potential unused labor pool and as recent immigrants, in contrast to the Gitanos’ own ideology and locally grounded identity of self-employment and anti-proletarianism. The paradoxical consequence of the integration policies, therefore, is the potential pushing of the Gitanos further away from Spanish mainstream society.

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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