Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

A piece of the mosaic: Gypsies in the building of an intercultural Europe

Simona Sidoti


The article proposes a critical approach to the notion of interculturality in the context of the geopolitical and social transformations that marked the transition from the nation-state system to the birth of a common European identity.In the European society the demarginalisation of territorial and identification borders raises the question of cultural differences and the need to redefine the new criteria for social inclusion. In this perspective, the process of European integration finds its own testing ground in social policies designed to cultural minority. The article focuses precisely on the case of Gypsy communities, exploring the symbolic and political mechanisms that have historically compromised public image of Gypsies through the ‘nomad theory’ by considering nomadism as part of an inherent identity. The reproduction of this stereotype is at the basis of a social stigma of Gypsy groups, perceived as a public order problem that is reflected in national and supranational politics according to the tendency to consider Gypsies as incapable of decision making and not interlocutors on issues such as health, education and housing. In this text, the author aims to examine these aspects of social exclusion of Gypsy communities and the fault lines of their Europeanisation process, emphasizing their deep roots in the historical and social structure of Europe and their political migration as a creative adaptation strategy to the historical-economic conjunctures. In this framework of reference, interculturality becomes an analytical and political tool that is capable of overcoming the conflicts between the majority society and minorities and a project able to oppose to the ideologies of difference that transform the cultures into abstract and incommunicable entities.

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