Our God is Gold: Vlashika Rom at a Crossroads?

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Abstract

This article explicates the sociocultural dynamics in the changing lives of the Vlashika Rom group in the Czech and Slovak Republics and contemplates the prospective development of this Roma subculture. To provide a better insight into the endeavour of the Vlashika Rom to maintain their integrity and into their adaptation strategies, the author outlines the genesis of this subethnic group, pointing out the historical circumstances that have formed them in the past. Contrary to former descriptions, the author provides an entirely new concept for dividing the Vlashika Rom into subgroups, identifying three distinct levels that create social boundaries within this community. He describes the way of living of this subgroup in the past as well as the relationships between the Vlashika Rom and the dominant society. Frequently antagonistic, these relationships depend on their way of life, substantially determined by the way they earn their living. The author analyses the inner resources that keep sustaining the contemporary Vlashika Rom culture and, drawing on his own experience and impulses from literature, inquires how long this anachronistic yet at the same time very adaptable culture will be able to resist the assimilation pressures deriving from the very nature of the modern national state.

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