The Outsiders: Power Differentials between Roma and Non-Roma in Europe
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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Romani/Gypsy political and social mobilization has intensified dramatically across Europe. Romani political parties have been created. A considerable number of Romani NGOs have been established. EU- and state-driven policies have been put in place to address 'the Gypsy question': meaning how to deal with the most discriminated ethnic minority of Europe. Yet, despite all these developments, the socio-economic situation of the Roma has remained very precarious, particularly in Eastern Europe, and a new wave of 'anti-Gypsism' has risen in Europe. This article seeks to answer the following question: why are the European Roma so discriminated against? I argue that discrimination against the Romani population is a function of power differentials between the Roma and the non-Roma majority. Historically, the balance of power between the two groups has been significantly tilted in the non-Roma's favor. Since the Roma's arrival in Europe, the non-Roma majority has held a considerable amount of political, economic, and social power over the Roma. The Roma have not been part of any kind of European power structure and therefore they have constituted what Norbert Elias and John Scotson called 'the Outsiders'. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
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