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Svinia in Black and White

Slovak Roma and their Neighbours

by David Z. Scheffel

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cultural, discrimination & race relations
list price: $33.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
category: Social Science
published: 2005
ISBN:9781551116075
Description

Roma—or Gypsies as some people still call them—constitute Europe's largest, poorest, and most enigmatic minority. In spite of their centuries-long coexistence with mainstream Europeans, our picture of this people remains rooted in stereotypes and myths that have little in common with contemporary social reality. Full-fledged citizens of the European Union, and ostensibly protected by the world's most progressive human rights legislation, many Roma live under conditions that challenge our notions of Europe, modernity, and pluralism.

This book is about a Romani settlement in eastern Slovakia. It is a community that has grown to become one of the largest and most problematic townships of rural Roma in the entire district. The dark-skinned squatters on the margins of Svinia are segregated from the surrounding society by means of physical and social barriers entrenched in local ideology and enforced by rules and conventions reminiscent of apartheid.

David Scheffel offers a detailed ethnographic account of the social, cultural, and historical circumstances that have encouraged and supported inter-ethnic inequality in the region. In the process, he demonstrates the complexity of what is often referred to as Europe's "Gypsy problem" with passion and sensitivity.

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About the Author

David Z. Scheffel

Born in Prague, David Z. Scheffel spent his early years in Czechoslovakia, Austria, and the Netherlands. His interest in anthropology took him to several European and Canadian universities where he specialized in Polar and Russian studies.  Author of the original research for the 1989 National Film Board of Canada production The Old Believers, he obtained his doctorate from McMaster University, and now teaches at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia.
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