Romani Studies

Exploring new worlds in American Romani Studies: Social and cultural attitudes among the American Mačvaia

Romani Studies (2001), 11, (2), 81–110.

Abstract

Borrowing from Marshall Sahlins’s recent constructive criticism of anthropology, we examine some of the fundamental assumptions invoked in Romani studies since its inception. Utilizing interactions with the same groups of Roma over half a century allows testing those assumptions against actual fieldwork. We contrast the concept of romanía (‘Gypsyness’) with the scholars’ concept of ‘real Gypsy’ and document many changes in attitudes and practices we have witnessed, some minor and transient and others more radical and seemingly permanent. We offer the concept of ‘selective multiculturalism,’ the idea that individuals can be fully comfortable in more than one culture, and ask that scholars consider its use in future research. We also suggest that future investigations be conducted with Roma as peer participants in the process.

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Author details

Gropper, Rena

Miller, Carol