Wesleyan University

Eric Fassin "The Roma Question in France and the Return of Race" 09/22/2014


Why should the Roma be persecuted today in France? The political explanation under the presidency of Francois Hollande is no different from that of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy: their culture is supposed to be the source of the problem. In fact, this is a euphemized justification of policies that racialize the Roma, not despite, but because of the fact that they have become Europeans. They cannot be deported like African migrants; therefore, the goal is to make life unlivable for them - leading to "self-deportation". But treating them with so little humanity implies that they cannot be quite human - unlike "us". This is why this new form of neoliberal governmentality relies on the return of race, whether cultural or biological.

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