Paper presented at the conference “Autocracy and Market Economy”, University of Vienna, 15-17 May 2014
The aim of the presentation is o illustrate how economic processes (such as marketization) and politics (in particular the politics of housing) are interlinked in the post-socialist context of Romania. Most importantly, I aim to show how these broad economic and political processes are generating social exclusion, which in the case of poor Roma means the juxtaposition of multiple material deprivations, cultural stigmatization and non-participation on the societal life (economy, culture, politics in the large sense of the term).
The presentation observes: the way in which the housing domain was privatized and marketized in the post-socialist Romania, a process actively sustained by state interventions at national and local level, created instances of advanced marginality characteristic of the neoliberal regime. The disadvantaged, mostly isolated housing areas are inhabited by people severely impoverished by economic restructuring and the lack of proper social protection measures and social inclusion policies.These neighborhoods are for many times stigmatized as “Gypsyhoods”, so the identity of the place and the identity of people inhabiting it are associated in a racializing manner.
The major conclusion of the paper – linked to the topic of the conference – is that from the point of view of the impoverished people and territories, the post-socialist (housing) market sustained by state politics generated undemocratic processes, i.e. less or no participation on the societal life. These processes are situating them into disempowering socio-economic positions from where they cannot act as equal citizens enjoying the resources and goods available in their social environment.