Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

The Ethnical Otherness and the Interethnic Imaginary among the Contact Areas between the Roma and Romanians 1

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

The Ethnical Otherness and the Interethnic Imaginary among the Contact Areas between the Roma and Romanians 1

Article excerpt

A short introduction

In some of the sociological studies on Roma, from the late 20 years, several aspects have been revealed, regarding the case of an inter-ethnic collective imaginary. (Zamfir, C.&Preda, M., 2002: 13) Other specialists also recorded these aspects, which would require a specific research on problems regarding alterity and the political universe.

For example, a less known fact is that from a perspective of civic culture, Roma show in their way, a strong attraction and interest in politics. These lead to an increased proportion of concerns, attitudes and orientations, these being part of the political representations. Interestingly, in these representations, as we observed in this research, Roma from Bucharest are increasingly more drawn to politics, than Romanians. Analyzing the world of ethnic and interethnic imaginary through the method of interview identified by the given answers, opinions, attitudes and orientations we get to the anthropological question of the political dimension. I can state that the imaginary of a minority is the common floor of group beliefs by which we can decipher the world of perceptions formed at the confluence of the normative dimension, the evaluative and also affective. The regulatory and affective dimension form in the opinion of Crothers (2000: 51), is a kind of participatory-parochial culture, which requires the emergence of two political interests: national and local.

This work was focused on the level of consistency and sustainability of the interview results obtained within the relationship between the Roma community and Romanian ethnic majority. I sought to analyze issues related to perceptions, symbols and images that can be highlighted as value-promoted attitudes in the intercultural relationship between the two communities. Another factor that was taken into consideration is the high Roma and Romanian heterogeneity from Bucharest. Therefore, I resorted to a qualitative analysis represented by the interview method applied in two representative districts: Rahova and Ferentari.

1. The current knowledge stage in the field of research

In this study, I set a goal for developing a model for assessing the socio-political environment from the interethnic imaginary perspective. The usefulness of this research is to yield significant improvements to the knowledge and objectifying of an interethnic European culture on a member country level. The importance of such research in Romania is all the more relevant as the economic and moral crisis dominates the most part, the top structures of the political system."Social justice", "redistribution" and "social protection" have always hit the barrier of the national implementation level, remaining rather metaphors in general political discourse than political realities (Popescu, 2014: 100). The transition from collective perceptions to group beliefs and ultimately, to an imaginary interethnic configuration through the power relations is the most striking stage of the present research. The need for a multidisciplinary approach is vital in studying the imaginary and the approach results in justifying being a significant target objective in itself, in the complexity of the included domains of both community and integration politics.

In analyzing the specialized literature there are many sociological and anthropological currents of thought that were bent on the subject of collective imaginary. In the latest studies, the term "imaginary" is deepened in the psychology of education, namely in training and education of children as future adults and citizens with civic responsibilities (Fleer & Peers, 2012: 414). For Angela Becerra Vidergarr (2013:5), the collective imaginary is a oscillating combination resulting from individual experience and cultural background of the person in relation to his own community. The relationship of the individual with his own community, minorities' case, can become even stronger than the relationship with his own family, unlike members of a majority records a somewhat lower interest. …

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