Accepted paper:

Material circulations, domesticity and the search for modernity among Roma migrants.

Authors:

Norah Benarrosh-Orsoni (EHESS)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses a specific aspect of Roma migration between Romania and France, through the lens of material culture. It analyzes how the circulation of domestic commodities create new hierarchies inside the community, which also generates a shared ideology of what it means to be modern.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyses a specific aspect of Roma migration between Romania and France, through the lens of material culture. In the last twenty years, many qualitative researchers have shown how material culture is the most favored medium to express social success. But the materiality of migration is a rather unexplored field, despite being a crucial aspect of any migratory journey. Many of the European Roma migrants wish to maintain strong roots and commitments to their homeland, while they build new lives abroad. In this Romanian group settled in the outskirts of Paris, the circulation of consumption goods and money, informations and ideas in both directions, is an important part of this attempt. This is also why most of their savings are invested in improving their village houses or in building new ones in Romania. This paper explores the ways recently owned commodities and their uses in Romanian domestic spaces create new hierarchies inside Roma communities, which generates a shared ideology of what it means to be modern. I do this by taking a close look at the objects carried in the trunks of the community-based microbus, and by analysing the reinterpretations they undergo in the village houses. We'll thus see how the relationships woven around the circulation and conspicuous uses of these goods causes new cleavages and cultural boundaries among Roma families, leading to the development of a culture of migration which unites the successful migrants in the same competitive game, while excluding all the others.

panel P102
The power of mobile materialities: human movement, objects and the worlds they create [ANTHROMOB]