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Roma, Marginalization, Globalization and Conflicts Over Water: The Case of Slovenia

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Globalization, Marginalization and Conflict

Part of the book series: Perspectives on Geographical Marginality ((PGEO,volume 6))

Abstract

This chapter follows analytically the shifts in several descriptions in the representation of Roma as one of the most socially deprived, marginalized and disempowered minority groups in contemporary Europe. In Romani studies there is a remarkable shift from the essentialized notions of Roma culture as nomadism to the situation of Roma in the wider framework of Romani mobility. Romani mobility, the question of Europe and the issue of human rights are important for the understanding of Roma and their emplacement in local, national and transnational space, and in EU institutions. Recently, scholars have been exploring the questions of Roma racialization and subjugation within the frame of migration and European studies. Roma are often criminalized and within the question about ‘Europe’, and ‘European citizenship’ are object of anti-immigrant racist populism. In today’s globalized world of new communication networks new possibilities are arising that pose a challenge to identity construction processes as well as cause new risks and vulnerabilities. Transnational political efforts in the EU member states and projects for ensuring decent living condition brought insignificant effects for Roma inclusion, due to the lack of will at the level of local communities or because of the resistance of the majority population. Scholars recognized a rooted structural rejection of Roma or antigypsyism as the major problem of Roma inclusion. Within the politics for the recognition of Romani identities, the recognition of the Romani holocaust is of great importance for the Romani movement. Combating the antigypsyism, one of the biggest challenges for European societies is to recognize the fact that Roma were victims of the holocaust/genocide. The chapter concludes with the analysis of the situation of Roma in Slovenia. Although the right to water is included in the Slovenian constitution, the state fails to provide access to water to some Roma. While the Slovenian state was sued before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, scholars recognized the denial of access to drinking water as a dimension of dehumanization, which may be connected with antigypsyism.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term will be described in the section Roma, Romani studies and the persistent problem of “ethnic” labelling.

  2. 2.

    Essentialized nomadism, which was implied as a major obstacle to education, employment, permanent housing and health (cf. Janko Spreizer 2016), is better to see as “the stereotype of everlasting nomads who do not belong anywhere” [in Europe] (Cortés Gómez and End 2019a, p. 20).

  3. 3.

    In this chapter, I use the term Roma for communities traditionally known as Gypsies in English. My usage is motivated by the fact that they themselves use the self-designation, Roma, Rom, Vlachs Roma, Romany, Xomá, Sinti, Ashklai, Bayash, Kalé, Manuches, Gitanos, Egyptians, Gypsies, as also Romanichels, Ludar, and Travellers etc. In some texts, instead of Roma the term Roms, Romanies and Romany are also used. Following Romani Studies Journal I have decided on the term Roma for the noun and Romani for the adjective.

  4. 4.

    The term antigypsyism was introduced by Romani activists in the 1920s and 1930s in the Soviet Union. Among post-Second World War European scholars, the term was reintroduced in the 1980s and later it attracted wider attention and became used in the circles of Romani activists and Romani scholars (Cortés Gómez and End 2019a, p. 21).

  5. 5.

    In the English-speaking milieu, the savants of Gypsies were known as Gypsylorist, in French-speaking societies, the field was labelled as tsiganologie. In the ex-socialist Yugoslavia and Slovenia, this knowledge was named ciganologija and later romologija.

  6. 6.

    Authors quote Iulius Rostas in Ryder et al. 2015: 176, but unfortunately, I was not able to find Rostas’ claim in the reference quoted. Anyway, the reference to Ryder et al. 2015 can be found in my list of references.

  7. 7.

    For more information consult https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decade_of_Roma_Inclusion and http://un.arhiv-spletisc.gov.si/en/minorities/roma_community/international_documents_and_international_cooperation/index.html

  8. 8.

    These sectorial acts are: Local Self-Government Act, Local Elections Act, Voting Rights Register Act, Organization and Financing of Education Act, Elementary School Act, Pre-School Institutions Act, Media Act, Act Regulating the Realization of the Public Interest in the Field of Culture, Librarianship Act, Promotion of Balanced Regional Development Act, Radiotelevizija Slovenija Act, Financing of Municipalities Act, Cultural Heritage Protection Act, Public Interest in Youth Sector Act, Slovenian Press Agency Act, Penal Code of the Republic of Slovenia (Office for national minorities 2019).

  9. 9.

    This form of racism is manifested through various forms of population control, forced removal or denial through complete carelessness (Powell and Van Baar 2019 p. 93). Population control is also related to the mobility and migration of Roma and connected with the question of safety and vigilance in border areas aimed at preventing new arrivals of Roma migrants from the south.

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Acknowledgements

This chapter is part of the CRP project “Barriers for decent life of members of Roma settlements in the areas defined in the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020” (V5–1920) led by Dr. Maša Kovič Dine, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. I am grateful fo Manca Gašperšič for proofreading of this text.

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Janko Spreizer, A. (2020). Roma, Marginalization, Globalization and Conflicts Over Water: The Case of Slovenia. In: Fuerst-Bjeliš, B., Leimgruber, W. (eds) Globalization, Marginalization and Conflict. Perspectives on Geographical Marginality, vol 6. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53218-5_11

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