Subproject A07 — Between Minority Protection and Securitization:
Roma Minority Formation and Transformation in Modern European History
first funding stage (2014-2017)
Bild: "Safe the European Home?", Delaine Le Bas,
This subproject focuses on the nexus of securitization, human rights, and Roma minority formation, and analyzes whether and how this nexus has changed since the 1970s. On the basis of selected case studies on migration of Roma from Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe (in three different periods since the 1970s), this project examines processes of Roma minority formation and transformation vis-à-vis processes, discourses, and instruments of securitization.
The hypothesis of our project is that, since the 1970s, at least three intersecting and overlapping processes have profoundly influenced the position and situation of the European Roma. Firstly, since the 1970s, frameworks of human and minority rights have increasingly played a key role in the debate on the position of the Roma. Secondly, since the 1970s and particular since the fall of communism, we have seen the emergence and development of what has been called 'the Romani movement', a heterogeneous civil and social movement that comprises various advocacy and activist groups, organizations, and networks across Europe. Thirdly, since the beginning of the Europeanization of migration and mobility policies (with regards to, for instance, free movement and external borders) in the 1970s, we have been able to notice an increased securitization of European (EC/EU) migration and border policies. In complex ways, these three developments have come together and to some extent merged in Roma-related policies of the EU and its member states.
On the basis of several case studies on the migration of Roma from Central and Eastern Europe to Western European EU countries, this subproject investigates how and to what extent the interaction of these three processes has impacted on Roma minority formation and transformation. By so doing, this project aims at analyzing changing processes of minoritization (minority formation), as well as interrelated processes of securitization and de-securitization.
Bild: Stadtteil Barajevo, Belgrad
The subproject focuses on three different periods of Roma migration and on the various related social and political controversies. We have selected the three following case studies and periods:
1. Migration of Yugoslavian Roma to Western Germany and the Netherlands in the 1970s. In the 1970s, a new international commitment to human and minority rights was developed through, for instance, the Helsinki Final Act. In the 1970s and for the first time in its history, the European Community started to pay attention to the situation of the Roma who, in those days, were predominantly labeled as 'Gypsies' or 'nomads'. At the same time, a transnational social and civil Roma movement emerged, including several national sub-movements in, for instance, Germany and the Netherlands. From the perspective of the three mentioned processes, the subproject will analyze the debates in Germany and the Netherlands on the Yugoslavian Roma migrants.
2. Migration of Roma from Slovakia to Belgium and from the former Yugoslavia to Germany in the 1990s. Due to the fall of communism and the then quickly deteriorating socioeconomic and political situation of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, human rights organizations and international organizations increasingly started to consider the Romani case as a 'human emergency'. In the context of these processes, the subproject will concentrate on two cases: the deportation of Slovak Roma by the Belgian government in 1999 and the so-called 'toleration' of Romani refugees from the former Yugoslavia in Germany in the 1990s.
3. Migration of Romanian Roma to France and Italy; the so-called 'repatriation' of Kosovo Roma from Germany since 2007. At the turn of the millennium, we have seen the enactment of new EU directives (most notably, the free movement and race equality directives), as well as the development of EU anti-discrimination laws. In 2011, an 'ethnic turn' took place at the EU level: for the first time in its history, the EU has explicitly developed 'Roma' policies in the context of its so-called 'EU Roma Framework'. From the perspective of these processes and developments, the subproject will look at the controversial cases of the ongoing deportation of Roma from France, ongoing eviction of Roma in Italy, and the ongoing 'repatriation' of Kosovo Roma from Germany.
In the case studies, the focus is not in the first place on a historical reconstruction of the controversies, but, rather, on an analysis of how the discourses and instruments of law, securitization, and minority formation have impacted on and possibly transformed through the controversial debates. Seen from this perspective, the central research questions of this subproject can be formulated as follows:
- What have been the major contexts (regarding human rights, securitization, and activism) of these controversies regarding migration in these different periods of time?
- To what extent have these contexts and their mutual tensions determined the main parameters of the debates about the migration of Roma?
- What kinds of changes can we trace in patterns of securitization and minority formation in the course of time?
- To what extent have these controversies contributed to the development or challenge of specific forms and instruments of securitization and minoritization?
- To what extent do these controversies about migration tell us something about possible processes, instruments, and strategies of de-securitization?