'Emergenza nomadi' : institutional continuities in Italian government policy towards the Romanies
Armillei, Riccardo 2014, 'Emergenza nomadi' : institutional continuities in Italian government policy towards the Romanies, Australian and New Zealand journal of European studies, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 27-41.
The Romani peoples today occupy a marginalised position in Italian society. A small number of these peoples live in ‘camps’ in conditions of extreme decay and abandonment. In order to address this situation and to improve these peoples’ lives, the Italian government has recently decided to implement an ‘extraordinary intervention.’ In 2008, in continuity with previous centre-left governments, the Berlusconi right-wing coalition implemented the so called ‘Emergenza Nomadi’ (nomad emergency). The state of emergency aimed to solve an issue that had been already categorised in the 1970s as the ‘problema nomadi’ (nomads problem), and was now described and handled as a ‘natural disaster.’ Based on interviews with Romani individuals, institutional and Third Sector representatives, participant observation and a broad range of secondary sources, this article argues that the enactment of an extraordinary measure was both disproportionate to the real degree of threat, and perpetuated an institutional tradition of racism and control of the Romani peoples. It was not, as the declaration of an ‘emergency’ might imply, the result of a sudden, unexpected situation which required an immediate action. The ‘emergency’ and the premises for the implementation of a ‘state of exception’ were created by protracted institutional immobility and political vacuum.
Field of Research
160803 Race and Ethnic Relations 1606 Political Science 2003 Language Studies 2103 Historical Studies
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