Workshop ”Ethnicity: a political, social and/or cultural construct. The work, vision and contribution of Nicolae Gheorghe in understanding the Roma”

Bucharest, The Museum of Romani Culture, November 12th 2014


With an international recognition as an intellectual and an activist for Roma, the sociologist Nicolae Gheorghe (1946 – 2013) was well known across Europe and not only. His thoughts and political actions were commited to shape a political identity of Roma, within a sustainable model that takes into account both the Romani cultural specificity and the contemporary political systems. Throughout his career, Nicolae Gheorghe wrote a number of texts (some available at  below) in which he attempted to reconstruct an ideological and political project of Roma identity, sometimes challenging contemporary political systems. Before he died, in his last debate with a younger colleague, Nicolae Gheorghe said:

 „we were born too late for a nation state and too early for what is due to come” (Necula, 2014).

Being a Socratic kind of person, he focused less on delivering academical papers, but creating a school, training a new generation of Romani activists and intellectuals. Therefore, instead of academic performance, he preferred vivid debates with disciples or opponents. For those who have had the chance to hear him, this oral section is even more interesting.

The aim of the workshop is to initiate a critical debate about the Gheorghe’s project of ideological Romani identity. Hence, a number of possible topics:

–          Roma: the cosmopolite ethnic group or local groups under a an ethnic cupola

–          The construction and deconstruction of an ethnicity

–          From a cultural minority to a political nation

–          The limits of freedom of expression in report with xenophobe and racists behavior

–          Producing knowledge about Roma – epistemologies, responsibilities, (neo)colonialism

–          From victimization of Roma to valorization of Roma

Please email (at an abstract (~500 words) of the proposed submission by October 31, 2014. The abstract should have at least two critical or illustrative referencies to the Gheorghe’s texts. Full submissions (2.000 words minimally) will be due by November 10, 2014. Do not send a completed manuscript without approval of the abstract. All submissions for the special section will go through the normal peer-review process, with no guarantee of acceptance. The articles will be published in a book.

A parallel objective of the workshop is to establish a communication bridge between Romani activists, researchers and public authorities according to the model developed by Nicolae Gheorghe, called Civic Cafe. Within this event, the subjects will be discussed in an informal manner by the members of all the target groups, expressing their views on the topic and listen to the others’ opinions. To achieve this goal, we will set up a panel with policy makers from public sector. Here, contributors will be asked or to illustrate or comment on the extent to which Gheorghe’s ideas and proposals are reflected in strategies and policies affecting Roma. The guests of this section will be local, national or international. Thus, in the opening session, the President of the National Agency for Roma, Daniel Vasile, will be invited to express his views on the subject of the workshop, and the next day he will make a brief presentation on the national strategy for improving the living conditions of Roma in Romania. Also, the president of the Local Elected Roma Association  (organization with 100 members elected locally), Petre Florin Manole, will deliver a presentation on living conditions and the problems faced by Roma.

Rules for delivered articles:

1. Two references to the Nicolae Gheorghe’s articles.

2. 2.000 words minimally.

3. We do not accept papers made in PowerPoint or other similar program.



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