A nation or an ethnical community – challenge of the Roma identity


Taken from romalitico.wordpress.com


‘When we do not know our true identity as powerful creators, we are susceptible to being used and manipulated.”  – Bryant McGill, author and activist


One of the many anthropological political topics is the study of the history of nations, their uniqueness in culture and identity. Throughout history, the European nations have endured and exceeded challenges preserving its sovereignty and territory. The functioning of the subjective political world depends on the interests of the states and the power to dominate the international scene. The Roma as a nation inhabited the European continent in the XII century without opportunity and tendency for territorial unification, with their own different culture and identity from the European. While the “white” continent continuously evolved throughout history, groups of people unified in nations protecting themselves through their national states, and culturally improved themselves for unity and unification, the Roma, as all people who settled as the “other” in the already constructed national countries, had to adjust to the conditions set by the majority.


This text aims to analyse and deconstruct the concepts of formation of a nation, cultural development and identity with emphasis on the Roma in the process of creating a multi-state nation with unified culture and identity. It also presents and argues the facts and the literature that create the standardization of widely accepted understandings of the abovementioned concepts.


The first part of this paper analyses the basic concepts of a national creation of the states supported by empirical examples of national states which, throughout history, standardize their territory on the basis of the theory based on ethnos and demos as Eastern European and Western European creation of countries. The first section continues to analyse the migration of the Roma, the political organization and “romstvoto”. The second part analyses the fundamental concepts of cultural standardization in the proposed framework [cultural beginning (origin); cultural maturity; cultural extremism] with empirical examples from European cultures with reflection on the culture of the Roma from the migration in 1971. The third part is based on tools that evaluate the identity and the creation of identity based on prejudices, generalizations of individual experiences, the media and the educational system as inevitable and powerful generators of descriptions that are accepted as “standard”. The third part continues with the deconstruction of the identities [Gypsy and Roma]. At the end of this paper is a conclusion that summarizes the main arguments in the reflection on the Roma.



This article argues the scientifically established indicators for analysing the formation of a nation with emphasis on the Roma as a nation and their attempts to form a transnational nation. It is important to note that the European nations develop the process of formation of a nation and a national state a lot earlier and faster, their union and unity are considered to preserve the “state” identity, while Roma are in a different situation than the majority of the people in the states where they settled. The Roma as a nation were faced with the challenge of political organization and leadership until the first International Congress of Roma in 1971. However, the Roma as an entity that exists in Europe after a genocide and daily depravation of liberty is seen as a “movement” with the hope of greater visibility on the European scene regarding the vulnerability of the problems faced by Roma today.

Also, one of the arguments analysed in the article is the culture, with empirical-theoretical explanations of the process of cultural standardisation and preservation of the “white” continent and reflexion on the same process with the Roma. In the migration period, the Roma faced politically-cultural challenge, knowing that they will be prevented to manifest and preserve the culture in the already extreme domination of the nations in Europe. The empirical facts in this work enforce the position for arguing the historical challenges of the Roma, as a nation which is disabled to practice and preserve its cultural values and features. Taking into consideration the culmination of the development of European cultures throughout the centuries, the culture of the Roma remains rich with its specifics and special in its manner of survival, although they were slaves of the “pure” continent.

This article analyses the tools which form and maintain the labelling of people, i.e. the Roma. The deconstruction of the terms which are widely accepted as “normal” or “standard” regarding the Roma identity, shows that there is an identity which was preserved with legitimacy, politically correct and sustainable, while there is also a form which was historically abused and created to restrict the possibilities of the “unclean” people in Europe.

In the past 10 years, the ziganism represented a term which places young Roma in a position to be ready to challenge every factor in the society through a democratic debate and academic methods and to prove that there is no such thing as a gypsy identity and a gypsy nation, but a Roma identity of the Roma nation with a rich cultural background and a strong faith in the future. This article represents an anthropological political viewpoint which can cause various interpretations with other explanations about the methodological approach which is being used for demonstration of the scientific and empirical facts and perspectives.

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