The Prestige of Westernization: “Among people”- Roma Students in a Village from Northern Romania

  • Abstract:
    For the past decades academic work about Gypsy/Roma has increased dramatically, especially since the collapse of Communism in the East block and the adherence of eastern countries to the European Union, which allowed Roma to travel more in west Europe. One of the central arguments in Romani studies is that the value system of Roma is based on a sui generis system and they must be understood from this perspective (Stewart, 1997). Because of their distinct belief system, many believe they cannot be integrated in the modern European society and are despised by their dominant society. The researcher argues that the Roma who collaborated in this study do not have a different set of values from non-Roma and they ‘want in’ (Gmelch, 1985). Even though the focus of this project is not on the exotic Romani-speaking Roma, my informants are still seen in their community and country as a ‘pure Roma’ (Acton, 1974). The data collected is based on interviews and participant-observation conducted in the summer of 2013 in a village from the Northern Romania. The conclusions are: that the Roma students want to live ‘among people’, want the western life that Romania adopted and consequently their peers at school, and that their dominant society wants to integrate them.