Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“We are no longer real”: Discourses on Roma Identity and Authenticity in the Czech Republic. Volume I of II
by Chaudhuri-Brill, Shukti, Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2012, 475; 3508981
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the discursive construction of identity among non-traditional, urban Roma in the Czech Republic. It analyzes discourses on language, race, ethnicity and nationalism, drawing on research in anthropology and sociolinguistics, to explore how this identity is built around Czech and Roma folk and scholarly ideologies of 'tradition' and 'authenticity'. Fieldwork was conducted over a span of five years, using participant-observation, interviews, and discourse analysis of recorded speech at two educational institutions and with families in the greater Prague region. It is argued that contemporary discourses on authentic identity are leading to a reification of Roma ethnicity and language, although this form of identity does not correspond to the real-life situations of many urban Roma. Adolescent Roma resist these discourses using linguistic routines—which are independent of particular linguistic codes—in order to performatively enact their identities as Roma, despite their lack of fluency in Romani. In conclusion, it is suggested that political discourses on integration are based on a model of 'authentic' identity, but that this discourse needs to show greater attention to the plurality of ways of being Rom in the modern Czech context, including those which do not correspond to the ethnolinguistic model of 'traditional' Romani identity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McIntosh, Janet
Commitee: Parmentier, Richard, Rosenberger, Chandler
School: Brandeis University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, East European Studies, Sociolinguistics
Keywords: Czech Republic, Ethnicity, Integration, Nationalism, Race, Roma
Publication Number: 3508981
ISBN: 9781267351029
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