Stigma and segregation: containing the Roma of Údol, Czech Republic.

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Abstract

This article analyses the lived experience of a Czech Roma community in Údol, Ostrava. Based on the author’s participant-observation research, it demonstrates how certain neighbourhoods are increasingly targeted by policy measures which range from the denial of benefits to residents of certain areas to large-scale evictions or plans to demolish public housing. Such approaches are becoming a Europe-wide phenomenon. Although proponents of these measures argue the need to ‘protect law and order’, their policies target communities that are racialised as immigrant, Roma or Muslim. In some ways, the social exclusion of the Roma mirrors that of Black people in US ghettos, but there are also significant differences. The author demonstrates how the ‘post-socialist’ reality of Údol has been defined by the outsourcing of the state’s social functions, such as housing, to be carried out by charities and business. This has contributed, in what has now been turned into a racially defined space, to the ongoing reproduction of Údol’s containment of its Roma population, who, nonetheless, in their everyday life strategies have developed reliance on local and community networks that have replaced the state.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-59
JournalRace & Class
Volume62
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020