Accepted paper:

The dialectics between ethnic and religious frontiers: the case of Romanian Roma in Liège, Belgium


Stefan Lipan (University of Liège)

Paper short abstract:

Through this paper I'm trying to bring a clearer picture to the way religion intervenes in the ongoing process of ethnic identification, by analyzing how the Pentecostal religion influences the ethnic identity of a group of Romanian Roma located in the city of Liège, Belgium.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the complex entanglement between ethnic and religious frontiers. The analysed ethnographic case touches the notion of Pentecostalism - seen as a transnational meta-culture, the most astonishing of religious movements, with more than 500 million worshipers outside the West and with 9 million new 'converted' each year; but also the Roma ethnic group that has experienced, if we might go so far to say, a cultural revolution through massive conversions to neo-protestant religions. For these reasons, I have tried to concentrate my fieldwork and my analysis on these particular shifts by investigating the ordinary and every day experiences, by focusing on self-representations and including non-Gypsies into the study. Thus I have shown how elements like: history, tradition, origins; presence/lack of ethnic political participation; conflict; re-birth; ways of ascribing and auto-ascribing ethnicity - all enter the dialects between the ethnic and religious aspect where they are reinterpreted, re-appropriated and re-employed.

panel P42
Difference in an interconnected world