The Time Of The Gypsies

Overview


Until 1989 it was official Communist policy in eastern Europe to absorb Gypsies into the ?ruling? working class. Since 1989, the Gypsies have become the scapegoat of postcommunism. More Gypsies have had their houses burned and have been killed in racist attacks in the first six postcommunist years than in all the time since World War II. Today the Gypsies have taken the place of the Jews, feared when poor and isolated in ghettos and hated even more than their skill as traders has brought them unaccustomed wealth...
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Overview


Until 1989 it was official Communist policy in eastern Europe to absorb Gypsies into the “ruling” working class. Since 1989, the Gypsies have become the scapegoat of postcommunism. More Gypsies have had their houses burned and have been killed in racist attacks in the first six postcommunist years than in all the time since World War II. Today the Gypsies have taken the place of the Jews, feared when poor and isolated in ghettos and hated even more than their skill as traders has brought them unaccustomed wealth and entry to walks of life previously forbidden to them.The Time of the Gypsies is about the refusal of one group of Gypsies—the Rom—to abandon their way of life and accept assimilation into the majority population. It is a story about the sources of cultural diversity in modern industrial society and about the fear and hatred that such social and cultural difference may give rise to. The core of the book, based on the author’s eighteen months of observation of daily life in a Gypsy settlement, describes the cultivation, celebration, and reinvention of cultural difference and diversity by a people deemed by their “social superiors” to be too stupid and uncivilized to have a culture at all.The author, who is the only journalist to have lived in a community of eastern European Gypsies and learned their language, takes the reader on the journey of discovery that he himself made. The answer to seemingly trivial puzzles, such as why the visiting Gypsy woman sits on the author’s hat, all become part of the explanation of how this unique people, without a homeland but unlike any other diaspora population with no dream of a homeland, has sustained itself.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Anthropologist Stewart, a research fellow at the London School of Economics, conducted fieldwork among the Gypsies of Harangos, Hungary, in the 1980s. Focusing primarily on the economic life of one Roma settlement, Stewart also addresses broader questions: Why are Gypsies perceived by others as threatening? How has their way of life survived despite relentless persecution and, in the case of the Harangos Gypsies, Communist policies of assimilating them into the working class? He argues convincingly that the differences between mainstream and Gypsy cultures are more the result of social and economic marginalization than of the Gypsies' non-European origin. This theory and Stewart's interesting analyses of horse-trading, purity beliefs, and song traditions are grounded in a lively and sympathetic documentary of Gypsy life in a small community. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.Judy Sierra, Eugene, Ore.
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Michael Stewart received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and is currently a reporter with the BBC.
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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
A Note on the Text
1 Introduction: The Lowest of the Low 1
2 Gypsy Work 17
3 A Place of Their Own 27
4 "We Are All Brothers Here" 50
5 Breaking Out 73
6 Making Workers Out of Gypsies 97
7 Gazos, Peasants, Communists, and Gypsies 112
8 Staying Gypsy in a World of Gazos 134
9 Sons of the Market 141
10 A Passion for Dealing 164
11 Brothers in Song 181
12 The Shame of the Body 204
13 Conclusion: Marginality, Resistance, and Ideology 232
Glossary 247
Appendix 249
Notes 255
Bibliography 281
About the Book and Author 289
Index 291
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