Green, S. (Ohjaaja), Alaina Lemon (Vastaväittäjä), Ilana Gershon (Esitarkastaja), Colin Clark (Esitarkastaja), Toivanen, R. (Ohjaaja)

Aktiviteetti: TutkimustyypitVäitöskirjan ohjaaja tai sivuohjaaja


Abstract: “Social orders, tensions and saviourism” represents an ethnography on the implementation of Finnish national policy on Roma. It draws upon two and half years of fieldwork working in a Roma project. The project aimed to tackle the poverty, exclusion, unemployment and low level of education among Roma. The project budget was three million euros and thus can be categorized as a large-scale attempt to improve Roma conditions in a country of approximately 10,000–12,000 Roma. All the activities during the project were bolstered by the European Union’s National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS), which was active during the years 2009–2017.

The name of the study, “Social orders, tensions and saviourism,” reflects the core findings of the study. It argues that the neoliberal policy-making applied to Roma people have an ideological premise that is incongruous with their social realities. The policy does not recognize the history, culture, tastes, desires or human conditions of the people it is targeting. While the social realities of Roma are incompatible with the neoliberal ideologies, such ideologies are forcefully implemented, with a combination of Roma participation and bureaucratic power, causing tension in the arena.

The study identifies and elaborates three different ontological social domains which Roma are involved with during their life courses: the traditional power system, Pentecostal networks, and state order and bureaucratic power. These domains are categorical abstractions with embedded social orders and power relations. Consequently, the study argues, Roma deal with the three different forms of social orders and power relations; to characterize Roma solely as powerless people stems from the fact that commonly only one social domain – that of the state order and bureaucratic power is elaborated. Identifying and analysing the other ontological social domains will provide a different, more holistic picture of Roma experiences.

What is happening with Roma policies in Europe, including Finland, is not a new phenomenon. Similar paths are recorded and studied in development projects around the world. The theoretical framing of the study springs from the anthropology of development and anthropology of the state. The theoretical frame brings the “Roma is sue” into wider developmental discourses and demonstrates how the development projects of Roma in Europe are actually backwards and not even as sophisticated as many development practices in Asia and in Africa. The neoliberal policy-making is not Roma-specific; nevertheless, that development projects inside Europe are targeting a specific ethnic group is what makes Roma development special. The theoretical frame in this study forces analysis of the Roma issue outside the Roma bubble, making it a wider issue, not a Roma issue.

Each ethnographic chapter in this study introduces elements that together construct a Roma social ontology. To answer the question what social ontology means in respect to Finnish Roma is to elaborate on education, employment and Roma economy in the realm of the state and bureaucratic powers.
Aikajakso2 joulukuuta 2020
Tutkimuksen ajankohta Helsingin yliopisto
Tunnustuksen arvoKansainvälinen