Mihaela-Daniela Preda, Iuliana Vijulie and Ana Irina Lequeux-Dincă
Contrasting the local specific architecture through an obvious opulent style, “palaces” of Roma population in Romania generate controversial debates. The present study analyses this phenomenon from a socio-geographic perspective in its attempt to draw attention to the new constructions appearing in the post-communist period after 1990. The Roma palaces are a choice of a showy non-constrained way to manifest an ethnic socio-economic status at the local level are perceived differently in Romanian society by the Roma community and by the Romanian population respectively. Our research methodology was correlated with the particularities of this topic and has been very infrequently approached until the present moment. It has hence used as its main tools direct observation, a social survey based on semi-structured interviews and media monitoring. The results of the study have mainly showed that the appearance of the new type of residences is a consequence of the change in the socio-economic statute of the Roma population, the size of the house being directly proportional to the status of the privileged within a community. Moreover, we have already witnessed architectural trends in the aesthetics of these constructions, which were mainly perceived in a negative way by the Romanian respondents and in a positive way by Roma respondents.
Mihaela Preda, Iuliana Vijulie, Gabriela Manea and Alina Mareci
The coppersmiths’ uniqueness as a Roma clan is given by their traditional crafting legacy, as they themselves acknowledge. They are one of the more conservative Roma clans. Encouraged by their previous nomadic lifestyle, it hasn’t allowed them to blend with other clans or populations. Mixed marriages are forbidden and marriages with members of other Roma clans are rare. The aim of this study is to identify the elements that define the ethnic identity of the coppersmiths clan, to analyse the features that make out the coppersmiths’ customary identity, and to measure the self-segregation tendencies within the coppersmiths ethnic group. The main research methods were: bibliographic documentation, direct observation, field inquiries (structured interviews), and digital mapping. The research concluded the following: the coppersmiths are one of the extreme conservative clans, which have maintained their customary identity. The tendency of self-segregation is a direct consequence of their resistance towards anything modern, and the members of the coppersmiths clan believe that acting like the majority of society will only lead to the loss of their own identity. The consequences are mostly negative, e.g. poor school enrolment, marrying at an early age, an absence from modern socio-economic activities, etc.
Gabriela Manea, Elena Matei, Iuliana Vijulie, Marian Marin, Octavian Cocos and Adrian Tiscovschi
This paper intends to demonstrate on the basis of a case study that rural people’s access to modern goods and services is not necessarily a relentless source of deculturalisation, because it sometimes allows a better management and valorisation of the main characteristics of the rural space. Despite socio-economic unrest and successive changes of political regimes that took place in Romania during the last century, the human communities within the Arges foothills have defended with dignity their traditional material and spiritual values, passing them down from generation to generation. In the medium and long-term, the valorisation of the Romanian rural space, in general, and of that belonging to the Arges foothills, in particular, will imply the creation of a balance between the valuable cultural potential and the quality of life of the inhabitants, who are the keepers of rural cultural heritage. At present, the best thing to do to pass on the traditions of this area is to proudly accept the affiliation to this geographical space. This is true not only for the permanent inhabitants of rural settlements, but mostly for those who have left the countryside to carry it in their minds and souls. In our opinion, this fact is a pre-requisite for preventing the loss of material and spiritual values of this cultural-historical space.