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Accepted Paper:

Remembering and Being. The Memories of Communist Life in a Turkish Muslim Roma Community in Dobruja (Romania).  

Author:

Adriana Cupcea (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities)

Paper short abstract:

The objective of my research is to explore the intersection between memory and identity and to to identify the way in which the political, economic and social changes of the Communist period were reflected in the ethnic and religious identity structure of the Turkish Muslim Roma in Medgidia.

Paper long abstract:

My research is part of a direction regarding the current situation of the Turkish Muslim Roma in the national states from the Balkans, created after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and it is putting forward the description of a Muslim Roma Turkish-speaking community in a post-socialist city in the south-eastern part of Dobruja (Romania), Medgidia (Mecidiye).

The specific objective of the research is to explore the intersection between memory and identity and to attempt to identify the way in which the political, economic and social changes of the Communist period were reflected in the ethnic and religious identity structure of the Turkish Muslim Roma community of Medgidia. Exploring the memory of communism, life histories led our research towards the perspective of nostalgia, understood as a type of memory, a re-creation of the past that goes beyond the mere recovery, reaching political, ideological, socio-economic and personal dimensions related also to the present needs and to desires of the future.

The research demonstrates that during the communist period the industrialisation and urbanisation processes and the rural-urban migration phenomenon has led in the case of Turkish Muslim Roma in Medgidia to a distance from ethnic and religious identity and to an attachment for the social identity focused around their membership to the working class which defined their role in the society, offered them financial security and dignity from their point of view. Their main concerns during the communist period were mobility, adaptation and integration in the socialist society.

Panel P180
Shared marginal experiences? Comparing postcolonial memories from the European margins