Romani Studies

Intersectionality theory and Bosnian Roma: Understanding violence and displacement

Romani Studies (2017), 27, (1), 1–28.

Abstract

This article uses intersectional theory to explain violence against Romani women in post-war (1992–95) Bosnia-Herzegovina and the social marginalization of Bosnian Romani refugees in Fargo, North Dakota. I show how race/ethnicity, class, and gender are relational and become salient in different ways and contexts, but depend on overlapping institutional contexts and state histories to create limitations and possibilities with regards to marginalization and inclusion. Romani women in post-war Bosnia experienced high levels of violence because they were Roma, poor, and women. Understanding violence in this context meant interrogating how (post)socialism, ethnonationalism, war, and anti-Gypsy attitudes influenced Romani women specifically. Bosnian Romani refugees in Fargo were stigmatized due to racialized social practices, like early marriage and scrap metal businesses. Understanding marginalization in this context meant taking into account a history of racism against people of color in the United States, capitalism, and hegemonic expectations for refugees to assimilate into mainstream American culture.

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Erickson, Jennifer