ACTS OF CITIZENSHIP FROM THE MARGINS: THE POSITION AND AGENCY OF IRREGULARIZED ROMANI MINORITIES IN POST-YUGOSLAV SPACE
In her presentation, Julija Sardelić maps recent transformations in the position of Romani minorities caused by the disintegration of former Socialist Yugoslavia, the subsequent military conflicts, and the establishment of new post-Yugoslav states. She argues that Romani minorities have not been only the targets of physical violence conducted mostly by majorities and more dominant minorities, but also that their position was constructed through what post-colonial theory comprehends as the “epistemic violence” of redefining the boundaries of citizenry, where they fell on the margins. She examines the myriad of non-citizenship positions that many Romani individuals have occupied in post-Yugoslav space, from refugees and internally displaced to legally invisible persons. The lecture also investigates the processes that irregularized the position of Romani individuals, who had previously been regular Yugoslav citizens, but now find themselves in a legal limbo in which they are neither recognized as citizens nor as de jure stateless persons (in Homi Bhabha’s terms, they are left somewhere in-between). In the second part of this presentation, Sardelić will focus on strategies of coping and other ways in which Romani individuals react to their irregularized position as citizens in order to show that robbing them of their legal status has not robbed them of their agency. She will show this by exploring the migration patterns that non-EU, post-Yugoslav Romani individuals traverse between the EU and post-Yugoslav space. Furthermore, she will highlight the everyday practices of Romani individuals, who remain immobile in the post-Yugoslav space and have no official access to healthcare, education, social welfare and labor market.