The Gypsy Village as Phenomena and Interpretive Framework

The representative survey conducted by István Kemény in 1971 was complemented with fieldwork based on case studies. One of these case studies written by Gábor Havas (1976) has drawn attention to the phenomena of “Gypsy village” which defined the discourse and interpretation of social processes and the notion of Gypsy village in the rural peripheries for decades. In the first section of my paper I analyse those socio-economic processes in the rural peripheries reinforced by the territorial development policy and elimination of Roma colonies which led to the appearance of Gypsy settlements. In the ‘80s those families living in the Gypsy settlements were connected – even if very fragile – to the mainstream society through mainly the workplaces and educational institutions and the better-off Roma families had capability for residential mobility. Recently due to the socio-economic changes after the collapse of socialist regime the Gypsy villages became the places of racial exclusion. The racial exclusion and the territorial stigmatization are interlocked with the parallel institutions in education and public work employment maintained for the inhabitant of Gypsy settlement and reinforced by the appearance of racist discourses. The last session of the article is a case study conducted in a Gypsy village which highlights the effect of institutional developments in social changes and its impact on the local society.

Released: Replika 104, 45–62.
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