Social citizenship and bare peripheries [Cristina Raț]

Papers of Cristina Raț presented in conferences attended in 2014:

Bare peripheries. State retrenchment and population profiling in segregated Roma
settlements from Romania, at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Hungarian Sociological Association, November 27-29, Cluj-Napoca

Presentation_Hun Soc Conf_CR


Social Citizenship at the Margins. A Return to Charity?, at the 11th Annual Conference of the Romanian Society for Social and Cultural Anthropology, 21-23 November 2014, Cluj-Napoca




Glocalizarea neoliberalismului în România prin reforma statului şi dezvoltarea antreprenorială [Enikő Vincze]

Enikő Vincze published the article Glocalizarea neoliberalismului în România prin reforma statului şi dezvoltarea antreprenorială in the Romanian volume Epoca Traian Băsescu, coordinated by Florin Poenaru and Costi Rogozanu, published at Editura Tact in October 2014. The article (The glocalization of neoliberalism in Romania through the reform of the state and entrepreneurial development) makes an analysis of the post-socialist public policy frame and in particular of how was its neoliberal form shaped during the last decade. Within this context one may better understand the logic of sectoral policies, such as housing, spatial and social policies observed under the SPAREX research.  Continue reading

The racialization of Roma in the ‘new’ Europe and the political potential of Romani women [Enikő Vincze]

The article was prepared for the Special issue of the European Journal of Women’s StudiesThe New Europe: 25 Years after the Fall of the Wall, guest editors Barbara Einhorn and Kornelia Slavova, November 2014; 21 (4).  At the moment, the online vesrion of the article is available  at European Journal of Women’s Studies, November 2014 21: 435-442, doi:10.1177/1350506814548963 (

The article is partially based on the analysis of “Roma politics” and “policies for Roma” conducted under the auspices of the SPAREX research.   Continue reading

Publications of SPAREX research team members in the “Vatra” cultural magazine

Four members of the SPAREX research team published articles inspired by the topic of our investigation in the cultural journal “Vatra”, XLIV, Nr. 519-520, June-July 2014:

Adrian Dohotaru: Antropologie performativă. Cazul ghetoului Pata Rât, pp. 60-64.

Norbert Petrovici: Industrii creative și dezvoltare urbană, pp. 57-60.

Cristina Raț: Despre margini, pp. 41-44.

Enikő Vincze: Politica, politicile și romii, pp. 38-41.


Processes of subjectification and their effects on racializing Roma [Enikő Vincze]

The article is based on the paper Cultural identity politics, social policies and racialization processes regarding Roma, which was prepared and presented by Enikő Vincze at the workshop “Race in/outside post-WWII Europe: On the Politics of Governing and Knowledge Production” (organized by the CEU Institute for Advanced Study and Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Budapest, June 10, 2014). It is relying on the results of the SPAREX research, in particular on the analysis of Roma politics and policies for Roma.

The paper discusses about the politics of culture, rights, social inclusion and development as processes of subjectification, and about how they are (ab)used in the process of racialization of the Roma. It briefly describes attempts of Romani nation- and minority-building, demands for universal human rights for Roma, “Europeanization” of Roma by inclusion policies, and the production of under-development, but as well as how the resulting subject positions for Roma are interpreted in a racist frame as ‘The inferior’ nation”, ‘The different’ minority, ‘The Other’ European citizen, ‘The vulnerable group’ and the ‘East-European sub-human’. The analysis views all these developments as dynamics that create subject positions for Roma in the broader power structure of capitalism within which they operate. Eventually the paper addresses what is the role of anti-Roma racism in the current neoliberalization processes and how is anti-Roma racism related to “The Roma poverty” and “Roma cultural inferiority” discourse. Last, but not least, the paper suggests the need for a new politics of empowerment that could act as transformative subjectification, which would enable one to act from a subject position created for him/her by the economic and cultural system in a way that changes the system itself from the local, through the national to the European level.

The text is under revision, prepared for publication in a journal. Its main ideas and conclusions are presented in a synthetic table available here  Roma_subjectification_table_EV_june2014(2) Continue reading

Analysis of Polish and Slovak national and regional newspapers [Michal Buchowski and Bartosz Wiśniewski]

This report aims to research the public discourse on the Roma in Poland and
Slovakia. The following analysis is particularly useful in combination with a previous
report on the assimilation of the Roma population in Poznań (available at SPAREX
website). According to the initial assumptions I analyzed resources at the local and state
level, that is, for Poland: national media – Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita, two local
newspapers – Gazeta Wyborcza Poznań and Glos Wielkopolski as well as Roma
associations websites – Foundation Behtałe Roma at the local level and the Association of
Roma in Poland at the national level. Official documents were also helpful during the
analysis, especially “Reports on the implementation of the Programme for the Roma
community in Poland” in national and local variations.
In the case of Slovakia, SME and PRAVDA were taken into account as
representative national newspapers, on the local level I chose the electronic edition of SME
– and Novinky. The analysis included websites of the Milan Šimečka
Foundation, Nadácia Otvorenej Spoločnosti (Open Society Fundation), Smile as a gift in
Košice, and government documents, such as the “Strategy for development of
marginalized people” and the “Strategy concerning relations with marginalized groups”.

Roma-Poland & Slovakia

Constructing “Roma ethnicity” by politics and policies for Roma [Enikő Vincze]

This paper, presented at the conference “Ethnic and religious conflicts, nationalist discourses and inter-ethnic tolerance in the 20th century. A comparative approach”, organized at ELTE Budapest on the 21th of October 2013 by Collège Doctoral Européen en SHS – Sorbonne nouvelle, University of Rome, Babes-Bolyai University, and Eötvös Loránd University Doctoral School of Sociology under the framework of Collège Doctoral Européen, addresses “politics and policies for Roma” as a process and/or as a battleground by and on which multiple and multilevel actors negotiate on the “proper” approach towards “the Roma question”. This process does not only define “the problem” and identify “the solution” but it is also creating “the Roma” as political subject, while challenging traditional understandings of state, nation, minority, citizenship or belonging. On the base of reconstructing the shift from the politics of culture and politics of rights towards a politics of policies for social inclusion (which is a process of de-politicization), the author argues for the need of re-politicizing Roma participation and empowerment by the means of understandings and actions that focus on the systemic causes of poverty, marginalization and exclusion, but also on socio-economic rights, which address rights as a socially embed process, and is co-creating and sustaining anti-racist coalitions and solidarities across ethnic groups.

Roma ethnicity EV_doct conf ELTE oct2013


21 October 2013

The war against poor (Roma) in populist discourses and practices in Romania [Enikő Vincze]

This paper offers an insight into the war against poor (Roma) in populist discourses and practices in Romania, while demonstrating how populism, in this case, is intersected with racism. In a first step, the paper outlines the general poverty-related context of Romania through some statistical data, and afterwards it sketches three cases that illustrate extreme ways in which populism targets poor Roma. Next, in two chapters, the article elaborates on some interpretations about (a) how poor Roma are dispossessed of their homes, citizenship and humanity, and (b) how are the poor blamed and racialized. As a conclusion, the paper drafts on some of the theoretical directions that might be useful for the analysis of the war against poor (Roma).

The_war_against_poor Roma

Analysis of Italian and French national newspapers [Giovanni Picker]

This is an analysis of national media discourse on Roma in Italian and French urban
contexts over thirteen years (2000-2012). It aims to provide SPAREX colleagues with an easily operationalizable short analysis contributing to set their ethnographic cases in a wider comparative framework. To this end, I analysed two newspapers, one conservative and one progressive, of each country, selecting all articles focusing on Roma (and related names) and the wide notion of urban space, disaggregated in several issues such as housing, evictions, demonstrations, etc.

MEDIA IT_FR National_ G Picker

Roma women’s voices and silences on unjust power regimes [Enikő Vincze]

This paper, presented at the 20th International Conference of Europeanists organized by the Council for European Studies (Amsterdam, 25-27 June 2013: Crises and contingency: states of (in)stability Panel: Romani activism, challenged democracies, contentious politics) aims at offering a general idea about how were “Roma women”  constructed as political subject in the context of the European Union, with special references to the example of Romania. [….]

 CES conf_roma activism_paper EV roma women_2013

The paper observes that during two decades after 1990, the political and policy discourses predominantly framed “Roma women” in the dichotomy of gender versus culture. As a response to the mainstream/ “male-stream” ethno-cultural Roma politics they were (self)conceived as women entitled to universal (women’s) human rights struggling, through their gendered positions, against the anti-Roma racism of the majority population and for a dignifying Roma identity. More recently, in the context of the current broader trends of EU policies regarding Roma one may observe that the “nation-builder” Roma politics is shadowed by a social agenda informed by inclusion policy. But the latter is not addressing class relations and the multiple dispossession of Roma (instead, it treats social exclusion by an approach that places poor Roma in-between individual failures and vulnerable groups), and treats “Roma women” (and Roma altogether) as potential labor force useful for the market economy. Parallel with this, nowadays one may observe a process sustained both by the state and the institutionalized civil society, which de-politicizes poverty pretending that the huge social problems encountered by a big part of the population are a kind of accident or are the outcomes of individual failures of adapting to the market economy and might be handled, at the best, with a project-based approach. Despite of these trends, there are signs in the Romanian public sphere that show the political potential of Roma women. The paper talks about it in the context of the relationship between Roma and non-Roma feminists, and both of the need to fill-in the class gap in women’s movement and to build connections between structural and political intersectionality.

Eventually, in its conclusions, my analysis argues about the (potential) transformation of Roma women (activists) into political actors and about the need for re-politicizing poverty intersected with other (gendered and racialized) forms of marginalization. In this matter, my analytical frame is also based on the approaches within anthropology of policy, according to which policies are not neutral instruments for solving problems, but are forms of power that “organize society and structure the ways people perceive themselves and their opportunities” and are having a contribution “to empower some people and silence others” (Shore and Write 1997:7). In this sense one should identify and challenge – both in research and social activism – the political convictions underlying particular policies that address marginalized Roma (women) or the absence of other policies rooted in specific views about the causes and remedies of (intersectional) marginalization. By this, ultimately he/she might contribute to a Roma politics addressing how – while shaping and sustaining each other – classism, racism and sexism create and maintain socio-economic and cultural systems that dispossess poor Roma of opportunity structures to control their means of living, bodies or representation.

Power point presentation at the conference: EV paper CES conf_Romani activism panel[2]

Fragments from the conference “Romani women for equal opportunities”, June 2011, Timisoara, Romania