Romani Studies

'Be-longing' in a 'doubly occupied place': The Parakalamos Gypsy musicians

Romani Studies (2004), 14, (1), 25–58.

Abstract

Triggered by continuous references to Parakalamos—a village on the Greek– Albanian border area in the north-west of Greece—as 'musicians' or Gypsies' village'— this paper attempts to unfold a number of layers embedded within the process of identity formation by exploring the way place and its locatedness (both physical and symbolic) are implicated in processes of othering. The purpose is to invite reflections on the interrelations between the constitution of identity of places and the constitution of 'terrains of be-longing' with specific reference to the Gypsy case. In this respect it runs contrary to most of the assumptions shared by recent studies on Gypsies: against their focus on 'nomadism' and/or 'imagined communities'— a focus that seems to disregard the significance of place in the constitution of Gypsy identifications—the paper raises the ways in which Gypsies' locatedness and sense of 'be-longing' might be more apt in understanding how policing their identification with place can indeed be a crucial part of the Gypsy world.

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Theodosiou, Aspasia