Category: Education

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Danger of introductions: 

Danger of introductions You generalize so much that you miss something important You create stereotypes about the whole group

Myth about nomadism :: 

Myth about nomadism : all Roma are NOT nomads in their “state of mind” as often claims literature. Sedentary Roma sometime move more frequently than a majority because of temporal rents, discrimination and supportive family network Nowadays they are often less mobile than the majority, have less choices “myth of a nomad” as a tool to deny “domestic right”

Romani Society : 

Romani Society Stronger kinship ties – important for: socialization of children Maintenance of the group Economic support, etc. Characteristics of kinship ties: nuclear family vs extended family (more generations, aunts and uncles, cousins) frequent patrilocality (wife that comes to live with a husband’s family)

Nuclear family: 

Nuclear family

Extended family: 

Extended family

Extended family - diagram: 

Extended family - diagram





Extended patrilocal family: 

Extended patrilocal family

Age distinctions – A) children: 

Age distinctions – A) children not protected from the “adult world” included early to the “family economy“ education is not so “direct” and systematic as in the majority day is not as structured to the specific time sections taught to decide collectively, to be loyal to the family and to share a responsibility for a whole family Importance of solidarity


Result upbringing produces an ideal member of its society majority society promotes – independence, value of institutional education, individualism, individual responsibility, exact timing and competitiveness. Acute conflict of norms in early age

B) Old age: 

B) Old age The older person, the higher status Someone who has an experience - gives advice Family “historian”, oral folklore is cared for by the family

Roma is a hierarchical society: 

Roma is a hierarchical society Status ascribed (prevails in traditional societies) achieved (modern market societies) Hierarchy hierarchy between groups (group endogamy) hierarchy in between the families and hierarchy inside families

Hierarchy between the families : 

Hierarchy between the families depends on profession, family history, wealth, honor or ritual cleanliness Ritual cleanliness family status (wealth, profession) unclean objects and persons – dogs, cats, lower part of the women body, women after giving birth rules of “good behavior” (eating, food preparation, laundering, bathing)

Hierarchy in practice : 

Hierarchy in practice Where and what do I eat and drink Whom do I visit Where do I live

Hierarchy inside families: 

Hierarchy inside families age gender strict definition of gender roles man as a main breadwinner good “family and household care” as the first responsibility of a good wife

Finding a partner: 

Finding a partner importance of the social status of her/his family (wealth, reputation) alliance not of two individuals but two families family control over the choice of a partner young women as a virtue of a family (danger of shame) women as a main subjects of taboos of cleanliness, dress code for women (long skirts and scarves of married women in some groups)

Young wife: 

Young wife the most inferior position improvement after the birth of a first child position improves with age, grown up children and menopause Problem of non-Romani society does not take into account these hierarchies and perceive Roma as a one group result – failed housing projects creation of ghettos, etc.

Means of living : 

Means of living influence social organization of each group (nomadism, semi-nomadism, sedentarisation) strategies specialization of groups (but only few of them allows to gain social prestige in non-Romani society – musicians) “border” activities or means of living considered illegal by a majority (but sometimes source of prestige inside Romani group) finding gaps in the market adaptation – from horse to car trading


Language “verbal society” knowledge of different codes of communication (bilingualism, dialects of majority language) language as a tool of socialization – disadvantaged children at school, knowledge of an ethnolect of majority language (specific mistakes) misunderstandings – stemming from translations

Main divisions of the language: 

Main divisions of the language Romani in the original sense - spoken by the majority of Roma around the world if they still speak Romanes. Loan-words, but basically understandable. Look and listen at http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/Research/Projects/romani/ II. Sinto-Manush dialects - loan-words and morphology from Germanic languages. Minimal comprehension with other groups. III. Local dialects of other languages containing Romani words (Spanish gitanos, Great Britain and some regions in Rumania).

Beliefs – social regulators : 

Beliefs – social regulators ritual cleanliness belief in God plus voluntary/involuntary adoption of local religions social gatherings in Western Europe (Saintes Maries de la Mer in May) various beliefs in the supernatural, in omens, curses and healing

Example: mule – dead people: 

Example: mule – dead people (sg.m. mulo) return because they had unsettled accounts with someone missing something in the next world because s/he disapproves of the behaviour of her/his survivors to warn a dear survivor of danger Belief in mule - a social regulator. Offended people can come and haunt offenders when they die.

Some important events in a life-cycle : 

Some important events in a life-cycle christening (boňa) – acceptance of the child from other world into the world of people engagement (mangavipen) – boy’s family comes to ask for a girl. Union is confirmed with a family celebration and young people can live together marriage (bijav) – not required, display of family social prestige, nowadays more frequent because of the pressure of the majority society Rituals concerning dead – eg. three-day death watch (vartišagos) - to make peace between dead and living. Respect for dead in general.

Importance of a context : 

Importance of a context A) Modern society Roma are living in a modern society; they are not an “exotic other” similar themes as faced by each ethnic minority (voice, adaptation, assimilation, discrimination, language, conflict of norms and ideas) most distinctive is a power problem (don’t have any state support) B) Majority society majority society was pretty similar until it adapted massively to the industrial and information society (kinship, patrilocality…) Careful when assuming that some cultural trait “is from India” – compare it with local history first


C) Changes weakening of the family and group control changing gender roles political involvement – re-invention of traditions (history, language) by elite and by researches

Our responsibility as researchers and policy makers : 

Our responsibility as researchers and policy makers involve not only a Romani elite, but other Roma as well inform in a most precise way and then help to make informed choices Further info on Roma http://romani.uni-graz.at/rombase/ Anthropology: eg. Stewart, Michael 1997. The Time of the Gypsies. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Williams, Patrick 2003. Gypsy World : The Silence of the Living and the Voices of the Dead. Chicago, Chicago Press University, 104 p. For those who read French - classics: Williams, Patrick, 1984. Marriage Tsigane: une cérémonie de fiancailles chez les Roms de Paris. Paris: L'Harmattan, Selaf Piasere, Leonardo 1985. Mare Roma. Categories humaines et structure sociale. Une contribution à l’ethnologie tsigane. Paris: Etudes et Documents Balkaniques et Méditerranées. Formoso, Bernard 1987. Tsiganes et sédentaires: La reproduction culturelle d’une société. Paris: L’Harmattan. Reyniers, Alain … Contact Hana Synkova: hanaDOTsynkovaAloginDOTcz

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