Accepted paper:

Forced ejection, forced repatriation: a double-displacement of Romania's Roma

Author:

Erin McElroy (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will explore post-Communist Roma (in)voluntary migration from, and repatriation to, Romania. It will study how internal displacement from within the state triggers emigration, and then how returned Roma from Western states are forced to contend with conditions of a double-displacement.

Paper long abstract:

Since their medieval emergence into what is now Romania, Roma have been subjected an array of apparatuses that engender subjugation, including slavery, sterilization, forced assimilation, and genocide. One can argue that with the collapse of Communism, these apparatuses have metamorphosized, taking on forms of forced eviction and ghettoization. This precipitates not only internal displacement, but also destitution, environmental racism, increased susceptibility to police incursions and human trafficking rings, and conditions of rightlessness. Such effects incite increased migration from Romania to Western spaces, both voluntarily and not. While increased migration is often discursively privileged as newly founded access into the borderless European community, it is rarely discoursed as also resultant of neoliberal post-1989 xenophobia.

Whether in the West by choice or not, Roma are increasingly forced to face a concatenation of xenophobia that preceded, but also morphs upon, their arrival. In Western spaces, such as France and Italy, Roma are subjected to different formations of violence, including neo-Nazi attacks, state policies of exception, and state-sanctioned repatriation to Romania. In some places, such Northern Ireland, far right violence and state policies of exception lead to voluntary repatriation.

This paper will explore post-Communist Roma (in)voluntary migration from, and repatriation to, Romania. It will study how internal displacement from within the state triggers emigration, and then how returned Roma confronted with conditions of a double-displacement. It will question the effects of postnational Romanian assimilation into the whitened theatre of the EU, privileging narratives of Roma caught between the racisms of the East and West.

panel P27
The inequalities of (im)mobility