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The Time Of The Gypsies
     

The Time Of The Gypsies

by Michael Stewart, Pierre Bourdieu (Editor), John Comaroff (Editor)
 

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

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.

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.
Booknews
Based on 18 months of observation of daily life in a Hungarian Rom settlement, the author describes the Gypsy way of life, attempts by the authorities to assimilate Gypsies, and Gypsy resistance and ideology. B&w photographs. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813331980
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing
Publication date:
04/10/1997
Series:
Studies in Ethnographic Imagination
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.31(h) x 1.23(d)

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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