This dissertation is a study of discourses about the Gypsies / Roma in contemporary Europe. It is positioned at the intersection of the disciplines of mass communication, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and Romani studies. It seeks to explain the construction, development, and social treatment of Gypsy difference in Western and Eastern Europe since 1989. The research, therefore, focused on discourses in the press, in Romania and the United Kingdom at critical conjunctures between 1990 and 2006, and in publications of non-governmental organizations of the emerging movement for Roma rights. The analysis asked what press and activist discourses contribute to what European cultures mean by Gypsy / Roma. How and why have these discourses changed - at a historical time of increased attention to human rights and minority political representation, of European Union enlargement and opening of borders, of politico-economic transformations and democratization processes throughout Western, Central, and Eastern Europe?
Press discourses constructed "the Gypsy," whereas activist discourses formulated "the Roma." The analysis of newspapers identified competing representations of discrimination against the Gypsy, of deploring the Gypsy's perpetual victim status, and, to a smaller degree, of attempting to recognize the minority culture in its own right. Differently, the activist publications contributed and formulated discourses that recognize the discrimination against the Roma, the state's role in this process, the rights of the Roma, the need for integration of the Roma, the role of tradition in contemporary process of inter-ethnic living, and, in few rare cases, the inferiority of Roma cultures. Tensions, hesitations, and changes were inherent in each of these constructions of the Gypsy / Roma. While discriminating against the Gypsy / Roma and lamenting racism are both rather self-explanatory in post-World War II and post-Communist Europe, press and activist discourses illustrate that such communication institutions play their part in the dominant ideology-counter-ideology dance that maintains an anti-Gypsyist system in place - by over-ethnicizing the Roma peoples, by intentionally shying away from formulating a cohesive Roma identity, and by continuing to find solutions for the Roma instead of with the Roma (yet an improvement from earlier eras of solution-finding against the Roma).
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2009. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Catherine R. Squires. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 382 pages, appendices A-D.
Schneeweis, Adina Alexandra Giurgiu.
Talking difference: discourses about the Gypsy / Roma in Europe since 1989..
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