Romani Studies

Public administration, legal culture, and empirical research: Residential policies for the Sinti in Venice

Romani Studies (2021), 31, (1), 101–122.

Abstract

This article proposes a model for analyzing contested local policies for Roma and Sinti people, starting with a case study on a Sinti “village” established by Venice’s local authority. A multidimensional analytical framework is adopted, investigating how the local setting and the political and discursive opportunity structures existing at higher territorial levels intersect, and how local residents’ collective actions influence the public authorities’ behavior. Concerning the first aspect, we identify a mutually reinforcing effect of legal culture, policies, and common-sense representations that contributes to consolidating the representation of Roma and Sinti people as “foreigners” and “nomads.” As for the second aspect, our analysis shows how the different perceptions of citizenship (and of the relationship between the Sinti and citizenship, in particular) of the various protagonists in the conflict affect the practices that are implemented.

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MANTOVAN, CLAUDIA