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Introduction: Racialized Labour of the Dispossessed as an Endemic Feature of Capitalism

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Racialized Labour in Romania

Abstract

The book is based on an ethnographic journey through five cities from various regions of Romania and their deprived areas recorded in local narratives as no-go places of “Țigănie.” It builds its theoretical perspective at the intersection of theories of unequal development and dependency, de-proletarization debates, postcolonial and decolonial studies, global anthropologies of labour, theories of postsocialism, and Romani studies. The authors regard ghettoized areas not only as systemic by-products but also as places shaped by neoliberal state policies that concentrate specific forms of precarious labour and thereby fuel capital accumulation. The book is divided into two larger parts: the first part unfolds the creation of racialized labour and spaces of marginality, and the second investigates how their invisibility is produced.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This pejorative Romanian term connects a supposedly negative human feature/behaviour with an ethnic group (Roma) and a supposedly dangerous territory, and it is used to mark “troubled” spaces regardless of the effective ethnic composition of their population. It might be translated into English as “Gypsyhood” or a “Gypsy colony”; however, these English denominations do not necessarily reflect the local ethnicized/racialized negative connotations attached to the Romanian term țigănie. Therefore, wherever possible, we use the term “Tsigane” rather than “Gypsy” for the English translation of the Romanian word “țigan,” in order to prevent any misunderstandings around the divergent national significances of these terms.

  2. 2.

    According to the Romani Studies international journal, founded in 1888 as the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, Romani Studies deals with “the cultures of groups traditionally known as Gypsies as well as Travelers and other peripatetic groups,” covering subjects of “history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, art, literature, folklore and music.”

  3. 3.

    A concerted European preoccupation for “Roma policies” did not begin right after 1990. Those seeking to advance Roma issues were initially focused on nation-building and the construction of the Roma as “a truly European minority” (see Mirga and Gheorghe 1997). Although we acknowledge that these processes might have influenced how places of marginality racialized as Țigănii (Tsigane neighbourhoods) entered the political agenda and ultimately also how various policy interventions changed these places in time, it is beyond our purposes to analyse in detail the European “Roma platform” or how it has been formed.

  4. 4.

    “If there is one category whose experience deviates sharply from this pattern [of the anti-ghetto – n.] to veer toward ghettoization, it is the Roma of eastern Europe” (Wacquant 2012a: 19).

  5. 5.

    In Wacquant’s view, there are “four constituent elements of the ghetto, namely, (i) stigma, (ii) constraint, (iii) spatial confinement, and (iv) institutional parallelism” (Wacquant 2012a: 7).

  6. 6.

    For an incomplete, yet more general view on the number, size, ethnic composition, and dimensions of deprivation in marginalized urban areas throughout Romania, see Swinkels et al. (2015).

  7. 7.

    In this sense, our volume subscribes to the singularity of capitalism perspective. However, we admit that it was beyond the purposes of this volume to explicitly engage in the debate over the plurality of capitalisms versus the singularity of capitalism, and we would welcome any follow-up work that would undertake that.

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Petrovici, N., Raţ, C., Simionca, A., Vincze, E. (2019). Introduction: Racialized Labour of the Dispossessed as an Endemic Feature of Capitalism. In: Vincze, E., Petrovici, N., Raț, C., Picker, G. (eds) Racialized Labour in Romania. Neighborhoods, Communities, and Urban Marginality. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76273-9_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76273-9_1

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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