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    War against the Poor: Social Violence Against Roma in Eastern Europe During COVID-19 at the Intersection of Class and Race

    Carstocea, Raul (2022) War against the Poor: Social Violence Against Roma in Eastern Europe During COVID-19 at the Intersection of Class and Race. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 21 (2). pp. 81-109. ISSN 1617-5247

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    This article positions the social violence against Roma in Eastern Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic in historical perspective. It is based on primary data derived from the project Marginality on the Margins of Europe – The Impact of COVID-19 on Roma Communities in Non-EU Countries in Eastern Europe, collected in 2020 by researchers in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine. This data is contextualised with the help of secondary literature on historical epidemics and pandemics, as well as societal responses to them, with a particular focus on the ensuing scapegoating of minorities in certain cases. The article first makes the case for the importance of historicising such responses to pandemics in different contexts as a safeguard against ‘exceptionalising’ either the ongoing pandemic or the Roma minority. Further, it argues against a reductionist perspective that treats the Roma primarily – or even exclusively – along the lines of their representing a ‘national minority’, a concept that is heavily tilted toward a cultural-linguistic definition of the group. In contrast, it posits that hate speech and racist incidents against the Roma in the context of the pandemic (and more generally) are better understood by factoring in the intersection of race and class, where the long-standing racialization of the Roma in Eastern Europe is inflected by the latter as much as the former. Finally, zooming out from the case study under consideration to consider other instances of ‘Othering’ encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic, it draws attention to the different scales at which exclusion operates, and to the advantages provided by an awareness of the multiple spatial and temporal layers constitutive of such a scalar approach.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Roma; Eastern Europe; historical pandemics; cholera; Covid-19; race; class; social violence;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 16795
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Mr Raul Carstocea
    Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2023 12:01
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
    Publisher: European Centre for Minority Issues
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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