Two Win Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholars’ Prize in Romani Studies for 2016

Post date: Feb 16, 2017 2:42:38 PM

The screening committee of the Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar’s Prize in Romani Studies has announced two winners of the prize for 2016. The winners are Aleksandar Marinov for the paper "Belonging and space-making: Bulgarian Roma in migration" and Tamás Hajnáczky for "The single party state’s Gypsy policy. From sectoral Gypsy policy to a critique of the Gypsy policy of forced assimilation".

Aleksandar G. Marinov holds a PhD in Geography from Swansea University (2016). He is currently a research assistant at the Romani Cultural and Arts Company (Cardiff, Wales) and his interests revolve around the fields of Romani Studies, mobilities and contemporary Romani migrations.

Tamás Hajnáczky is a Gypsy affairs officer of the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary and holds PhD in Sociology from Eötvös Loránd University (2016). He is an expert in sociology of minorities and has interests in the field of history of Gypsies in Hungary in the XX c.

The Gypsy Lore Society established the Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholars’ Prize in Romani Studies for the best unpublished paper by a young scholar on a topic in Gypsy and Traveler Studies. The prize is a cash award of $500. The winning papers will be published, after any necessary revisions, in an issue of the journal Romani Studies.

The deadline for receipt of papers for the current cycle is October 30, 2017. For more information please consult Gypsy Lore Society web site, society-young- scholars-prize.

Abstracts of the Prize Papers

Aleksandar G. Marinov. Belonging and space-making: Bulgarian Roma in migration.

The paper seeks to present an insider’s perspective into some of the consequences of

contemporary migrations of Bulgarian Roma. It offers greater insights into the ‘Romani

identity’ by looking at several levels. On the one hand, it studies the feelings of belonging and

attachment by the migrants who find themselves abroad for various reasons. In this case the

paper discusses two main scenarios; one is the clear demarcation between ‘home’ (“desh”)

and the ‘foreign’ (“bidesh”) (Gardner 1993); the second is more fluid and fits well into the

discussion of transnational feelings of belonging and simultaneity. The author examines the

interplay between the concepts of ‘home’ and ‘abroad’ and how these become blurred. The

piece explores some new and unique realities that Roma migrants face today as migrants and

the ways they construct space abroad. All these combine to offer another way of studying and

understanding the Roma, their migrations, feelings of belonging and their identities.

Tamás Hajnáczky. The single party state’s Gypsy policy. From sectoral Gypsy policy to

a critique of the Gypsy policy of forced assimilation.

The paper presents a detailed chronological account of the Hungarian communist state

Romani policies, discussing the changes in these policies and their consequences. In post war

Hungary, just like in the previous period, the sate party in power looked at the so-called

„Gypsy-issue” as a public health and a police business. With the publishing of the party

decree in 1961, the Political Committee of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist

Workers’ Party (MSZMP KB) laid the Gypsy politics of forced assimilation, and it also aimed

the improvement of the living, educational and working conditions of the Hungarian Gypsies.

The main problems in the 1960s were the schooling of Gypsies, the elimination of the Gypsy

camps and providing jobs for the Gypsies. In the second half of the 1970s, with the partial

solution of the initial difficulties, the power had to face with new challenges: although the

Gypsy children did start the primary school, they did not manage to finish it; the Gypsy

employees had jobs, but these were unskilled labours; the elimination of the camps

progressed, however, the segregation did not disappear, it just took new forms. The

development of the forced assimilation was obstructed by the local levels of the power and

there was a serious conflict between the interests of the central directive, the local

functionaries and the non-Gypsy residents. It became clear by the 1980s that the politics of

forced assimilation failed, and the segregation of the Gypsies was only partially overcome.