The Roma people have many times, and for a long period of time been described in a negative way, as a group of people unlike every other. Both novels and encyclopedias has been a part of this misleading discourse and therefore contributed to large misunderstandings. Also scholarly research from Sweden, and elsewhere, has featured inaccurate representations of the Roma people and altogether this has created negative attitudes towards Roma people which are still today a considerable problem.
However, the last few years positive changes has taken place and today the Roma people is an official minority group in Sweden which, among other things, has led to promising possibilities, especially in schools, for a deeper understanding of the Roma people in the future. Reading Roma literature I believe is an important part of this.
Katarina Taikon and Hans Caldaras both consider themselves Roma. They also have in common that they want to give voice for the group of Roma that has lived in Sweden since mid-nineteenth century. Even though one can’t claim there is such a thing as an overall Roma identity the two authors have, separately, given a picture of the Roma as a unique group of people with certain individuality. Although, their way of doing this is distinctively different from how it has been done before. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to describe how the Roma group identity is pictured in two books written by Roma.
When looking at the concept of identity and group identity from this perspective it becomes obvious that the topics of culture and ethnicity are strongly related. In this study I have performed a comparative analysis through close readings of the two books and looked at the Roma group identity as constructed by the sub identities culture, as “a way of life”, and ethnicity, as a production of identity through writing of history as well as a group of people with a unique culture. The Roma group identity has also been looked upon as partly constructed by people outside of the group.
The analysis of the two books has shown that the aspects of what describes the Roma group identity can be divided in to four different, but not independent, themes. The different themes have, one by one, shown examples of individuality concerning this group in relationship to other groups of people. Furthermore it has become clear that this group of Roma for a long time have been put in the role of being, and partly even being produced as, the “other” which also has impacted the characteristics of the Roma group identity.
2013. , 37 p.