In search of a social contract: Roma in the 20th and 21st centuries

  • Elena Marushiakova
  • Vesselin Popov
Keywords: Roma, social contract, nation building, community-society, ethnography, anthropology


The whole history of the Roma people reflects a constant quest to find a “good place for life”. Two possible ways of achieving this goal are used consecutively or simultaneously. In an attempt to secure their well-being, some Roma communities change the place where they reside and spread out across huge territories throughout the world. Others are creating their own organisations and structures in order to negotiate their social position and to enact social contracts defining their place in societies with the countries in which they live, or in supra- or multinational contexts. The new realities of the European Union provide a new opportunity to re-negotiate the place of Roma in a post-national context. The failure of contemporary European policies towards Roma raises the question of whether it is possible at all to achieve a post-national social contract in regard to Roma and if so, what the price for it will be.