The focus of this article is on two Czech and Slovak films, My Friend Fabián (Můj přítel Fabián, 1955) and Gypsy (Cigán, 2011). While the former emerged in the 1950s, in the period of socialist industrialisation, the latter was released in the period of post-socialist consolidation of capitalism. Theoretically this article relies on a mix of approaches from film studies, social anthropology, post-colonial studies and archival research. The central research question is how cinematic representation of Roma were approached in the past and how they have changed over time. The film My Friend Fabián is replete with colonial tropes of uninhibited dancing, singing and exotica stereotypes and depicts imaginary Roma as incompetent individuals who are subject to the paternalistic care of the White socialist functionaries. At the same time this film presents a viable model for Roma integration and social advancement via education and full-fledged integration into the working class. In contrast, the film Gypsy is much more respectful towards Roma, contemporary performers and characters are real Roma and their film destinies are realistic. But the world that surrounds film characters is the world of total racial exclusion, which offers no hope and no prospects whatsoever for Roma and their social advance.
Bandura art is a unique phenomenon of Ukrainian culture, inextricably linked with the history of the Ukrainian people. The study is dedicated to one of the most tragic periods in the history of bandura art, that of the 1920s–1940s, during which the Bolsheviks were creating, expanding and strengthening the Soviet Union. Art in a multinational state at this time was supposed to be national by form and socialist by content in accordance with the concept of Bolshevik cultural policy; it also had to serve Soviet propaganda. Bandura art has always been national by its content, and professional by its form, so conflict was inevitable. The Bolsheviks embodied their cultural policy through administrative and power methods: they created numerous bandurist ensembles and imposed a repertoire that glorified the Communist Party and the Soviet system. As a result, the development of bandura art stagnated significantly, although it did not die completely. At the same time, in the post-war years this policy provoked the emigration of many professional bandurists to the USA and Canada, thus promoting the active spread of bandura art in the Ukrainian Diaspora.
Antigypsyism has been frequently said to be a racist ideology. However, although some studies have engaged with the ‘racist’ component of the thesis, almost no work has been done in terms of specifying what ideology is and how a certain conception of it can enhance the understanding of antigypsyism both as a concept and empirical phenomenon. This paper explores the potential of the Lacanian theory of ideology as exemplified by Slavoj Žižek for developing antigypsyism research. Overcoming the problem of false consciousness, Žižek’s conception offers an analytical framework that allows re-examining and elaborating on certain issues from the perspective which weaves social and psychic realities without falling into the traps of psychological reductionism. To illustrate this, this paper presents a Žižekian analysis of three issues that correspond to different aspects of the antigypsyist phenomenon identified via ethnographic research among the non-Roma inhabitants of a declining neighbourhood with a significant Roma presence in Czechia. The issues are called envy, corruption and ‘hard racism’.
The author of the study presents a micro-historical study of a family of Vlach Roma (Lovára) of western Slovakian origin, who were one of the few Romani groups still on the move in the mid-1950s and who in the late 1950s were forced to settle in the towns of Louny and Žatec in north-western Bohemia. Against this background the author focuses on some aspects of the Czechoslovak assimilation policy of the 1950s regarding ‘itinerant Gypsies’, designed to limit their mobility, which is represented mainly by the implementation of the Law on the Permanent Settlement of Itinerant Persons (No. 74/1958 Coll.). Using a combination of oral history methods involving Vlach Romani narrators and of archival research, the author clarifies some aspects of the local process of the implementation of the above-mentioned law and of selected impacts of the registration of travelling and semi-travelling people in February 1959. The forced sedentarization which occurred in the two localities under study is presented in the context of the regime of state socialism and the policies of central as well as local authorities towards so-called ‘travelling Gypsies’ in the late 1950s.
This paper discusses the outcomes of power asymmetries in Slovak municipalities with Roma population and presents examples how local Roma leaders resist the non-Roma dominance by active participation in local elections. Presenting data from field research and long-term repeated observations, the paper shows successful strategies of elected Roma mayors who disrupt the usual perception of the Roma as objects of decision-making process and passive recipients of various policies. In these paternalistic beliefs Roma have never been seen as actors who can control resources, who could hold the political power and who could decide how to use the resources. Although the Roma have penetrated the power structures of many municipalities, they are not able to wipe out invisible ethnic boundaries, or, at least, to soften and disrupt them. However, as the text illustrates, it seems that the political power asymmetries in a significant number of municipalities are being balanced, nevertheless, the symbolic dominance and symbolic power of non-Roma still persists.