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Racialised postsocialist governance in Romania’s Urban Margins: housing and local policymaking in Ferentari, Bucharest
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8287-2213
2019 (English)In: City, ISSN 1360-4813, E-ISSN 1470-3629, Vol. 23, no 6, p. 714-731Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Postsocialist urban development is partially characterised by housing deterioration and the perpetual overrepresentation of Romanian Roma in substandard dwellings. These phenomena are particularly noticeable in the margins of larger Romanian cities. Many poor Romanians found, in urban peripheries, a last resort during a period of economic crisis and housing shortages. In the meantime, public policy and urban planning have focused on maintaining ‘collective order’ and accommodating the wishes of the ‘decently’ housed residents of the city. This is certainly the case in Bucharest, where squatters and homeless people have been expelled from central districts and where the same privileged districts receive substantially more attention. This collective order is apparently deemed more important than the needs of marginalised groups in Romanian society. This article examines how urban marginality is addressed at the municipal level and how ‘parsimonious’ public intervention in poor residential areas is justified. In doing so, I highlight the roles of postsocialist devolution, inadequate use of EU and national funds, and reviving racialisation in reproducing housing poverty.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 23, no 6, p. 714-731
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography; Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390223DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2020.1717208OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390223DiVA, id: diva2:1341041
Available from: 2019-08-07 Created: 2019-08-07 Last updated: 2020-02-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Dwelling on Substandard Housing: A multi-site contextualisation of housing deprivation among Romanian Roma
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dwelling on Substandard Housing: A multi-site contextualisation of housing deprivation among Romanian Roma
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the housing situation of Romanian Roma in recent times. Many Romanian Roma are relegated to inadequate living condi­tions, and this thesis seeks to further our knowledge of the spaces this group inhabits. This is done by focusing on postsocialist urban segrega­tion, institutional intervention inertia, and local efforts made and strate­gies deployed by Roma to appropriate decent living conditions.

Paper I examines the postsocialist relegation of poor Bucharesters to the impoverished southern parts of Ferentari, a neighbourhood in Roma­nia’s capital. The paper proposes a theoretical understanding of Roma­nia’s postsocialist production of urban space by drawing on the housing trajectories of residents of various housing types, ranging from small apartments to newly built slums.

Paper II brings the perspective of Bucharest’s local officials to the fore, analysing institutional dynamics and policymaking in Bucharest’s poorest administrative division, where Ferentari is situated. In this article, political inertia is highlighted as comprising a problematic pairing of political disregard of welfare provision and racialised understandings of Ferentari’s citizens. As a result, no concrete and rigorous efforts are made to address the neighbourhood’s obvious problems.

Paper III examines the narratives of Romanian Roma who travel to Sweden to earn more income, but where they are also exposed to an un­welcoming context and homelessness. The study helps clarify how certain groups in Europe can be both homeowners and homeless at the same time. This article disputes the assumption that homeownership is a more stable tenure form than for example decommodified rental housing.

Paper IV examines two different and highly mobile housing and earn­ing strategies of two related Boyash-Roma communities in two countries: Argentina and Romania. The Argentine case concerns Romanian-speak­ing Roma involved in street-vending throughout Argentina. The Roma­nian case concerns Rudari from Vâlcea County, who travel to Sweden primarily to beg. The cases illustrate how two groups have managed to improve their housing condi­tions in post-crisis and xenophobic contexts.

In combination, this multi-site research advances our understand­ing of the problems Roma face in finding adequate housing. Although continuously marginalised and excluded, Roma still find ways to cope with their situation and even improve their housing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Social and Economic Geography, 2019. p. 123
Series
Geographica, ISSN 0431-2023 ; 26
Keywords
Roma, Romania, Racialisation, Postsocialism, Housing, Community-led strategies
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390618 (URN)978-91-506-2783-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-09-27, Sal IX, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-08-12 Last updated: 2019-09-06

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