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Title: Ethnography of the 'gypsy problem' in Italy : the case of Kosovo Roma and Ashkali in Florence and Venice
Author: Sigona, Ferdinando
ISNI:       0000 0001 2411 3964
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2009
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Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with Kosovo Romani (i.e. Roma and Ashkali) forced migrants, NGO workers and volunteers, local politicians and city councillors, civil servants and social workers in Florence and Venice, this thesis examines the complex interplay between discourses, policies, and practices which contribute to the definition of the Romani population as a social and political 'problem' in Italy. The thesis traces a genealogy of current Italian policies toward Italian and foreign Romani people, which provides the background for investigating how, and to what extent, Kosovo Roma and Ashkali forced migrants are, discursively and socially, constructed as a part of the broader 'Gypsy problem' (rather than as 'refugees') and the implications this framing has on their everyday lives, experiences, and coping strategies. The thesis also shows that the 'Gypsy problem' is time- and space- specific, and assumes different configurations in Florence and Venice. These are a product of the Italian 'municipalist' political tradition and decentralised administrative structure, as well as of different understandings, approaches, agendas, and actions of local politicians, civil servants and front line bureaucrats. The examination of the dominant discourse on 'Gypsies' also reveals a strong culturalist bias centred on the idea of the Romani population as inherently nomadic. This characterisation, it is argued in the study, has important policy implications. By framing the Romani population in this way, not only has it become possible for Italian authorities to legitimise the rejection of well-founded claims from Romani displaced people for humanitarian protection; they have also been able to refuse newcomers opportunities for permanent settlement, and to develop and implement public policy which has contributed to the spatial and social segregation of these communities. The so-called 'nomad camps', an important product of this culturalist logic, epitomise this chain of processes and form a privileged analytical standpoint from which to examine the 'Gypsy problem' in Italy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available