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Roma beggars in Uppsala: racialised poverty and fallacious homeownership in Romania and Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Trying to trace a continuous link in time and space, and from a qualitative ethnographic and multi-sited approach to housing and racialised poverty, we analyse the narratives of fifteen Romanian Roma begging outside stores in Uppsala’s inner-city district. The narratives from Uppsala reveal precarious living and housing conditions in Romania. Beggars come to Sweden for more income, but there they are also exposed to homelessness, harsh weather conditions, racism and discrimination. Using a combination of political economy approach for the analysis of housing, with a postcolonial approach to migratory patterns of the racialised and impoverished Roma in Europe/Sweden, we reflect on two main topics: Firstly, while beggars are homeless in Uppsala, paradoxically they are often homeowners in Romania, although their housing conditions are precarious in both places. Secondly, we discuss the relationship between racialisation and the precarious living and housing conditions observed among the Romanian Roma. Grounding our analysis in the empirical material we argue that the very idea of homeownership as a good investment and a more convenient form of tenure than rental housing must be especially disputed in this context. We therefore propose the term fallacious homeownership, to characterise the precariousness of life among these poor and racialised homeowners. This article merges the interests of urban and housing researchers with those from the postcolonial tradition.

Keywords [en]
Roma, fallacious homeownership, racialised poverty, Uppsala, Romania
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390227OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390227DiVA, id: diva2:1341047
Available from: 2019-08-07 Created: 2019-08-07 Last updated: 2019-08-12
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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