Gypsy Menace: Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics

Gypsy Menace: Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics

by Michael Stewart


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As a new, populist politics sweeps Europe, Roma and Gypsies are experiencing increasing prejudice and hostility within their resident societies. This movement extracts political meaning from collective identity and values forms of solidarity rooted in towns, class, communities, and nations, and it has found in Roma and Gypsies a suitable target for citizens' fears and frustrations. This particular strain of politics draws on a rising tide of xenophobia, a perceived loss of sovereignity and democratic oversight, disillusionment with political elites, frustration with the failure of social welfare programs, the representation of social and political conflicts as cultural issues, and a growing rejection of a transnational European order. Ranging from Belfast to Sofia via Paris, Rome, Prague, and Budapest, this volume shows how, in their reaction to the ten million or so Romany in their communities, some Europeans are beginning to refashion their thinking about the ties that bind Europe's citizens and the ways to sever them. Contributors include political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists from across the continent, and they contextualize the rapidly evolving political debate regarding Roma within three decades of major social and economic change. They explain the reasons behind the recent, frightening resurgence of populist politics in Europe and the increase in interethnic violence and hate crimes. The collection altogether offers a new understanding of Europe's largest minority, vividly portraying liberal politics' contemporary challenges while also recommending how to diffuse such tensions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849042208
Publisher: Hurst & Co.
Publication date: 04/28/2012

About the Author

Michael Stewart is a London School of Economics-trained social anthropologist who has worked with Romany communities in Hungary and Romania for more than twenty-five years.He is the author of Time of the Gypsies and coeditor of Lillies of the Field: Marginal People Who Live for the Moment. He teaches anthropology at the University of College London and has, since 1998, run a summer school at Central European University for researchers workingwith Roma.

Misha Glenny is a British journalist who specializes in southeastern Europe and organized crime. He is the author of The Rebirth of History: Eastern Europe in the Age of Democracy.

What People are Saying About This

Peter Vermeersch

"In the last few years the Roma have increasingly become the explicit target of rising rightwing populism and hate speech in various European countries. In this excellent book a broad array of authors study this unsettling trend in detail. They also search for explanations that are fully aware of the larger political context---including the unintended effects of European integration and the rise of identity politics."

Peter Vermeersch, Professor of Political Science, and author of The Romani Movement: Minority Politics and Ethnic Mobilization in Contemporary Central Europe

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