African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) Seminar

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Exclusion, Recognition and Experience of the « Strangers From Within » in Europe: The Roma and European Construction.

March 19, 2013 – 12:45 – 13:45.

Deans Committee Room.

Speaker: Frédéric LE MARCIS, Professor of Anthropology.


In 2002, Bulgaria and Romania joined the Schengen space (Economic European Community) and, five years later the European Union. As a consequence, borders were opened and people from both countries were granted the right to move freely within the European space (although with some restrictions). French citizens began to see Bulgarian and Romanian people, often identified as Romas, reaching their cities, sometimes begging in the streets or occupying empty space and derelict buildings.

Highly visible because of their singular inscription in the urban space and because they were seen as abusing social services in France, the Roma population has been for the past years the subject of debates between those denouncing Romas for not playing the game of the Republic and those defending them as embodying a notion of lost freedom. In the public discourse, Romas are thus betwixt and between fascination and fears.

How can we as social scientist make sense of the experience Romas (together with Gypsies, Sintis, Manush) have in Europe? Taking into account the context of the European construction, I propose the notion of “endoétranger” (stranger from within) to avoid commonly held stereotypes on those who are coined Romas.

Biographical note

Frederic Le Marcis is Professor of Anthropology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure fo Lyon (France). Looking at health issues as a way to interrogate contemporary societies, he has been working in Mali, South Africa, Burkina Faso and France. He has authored and edited several books : Vivre avec le sida après l’apartheid (Afrique du Sud), Paris, Karthala (2010) ; (with Kàtia Lurbe i Puerto), (eds) Endoétrangers. Exclusion, reconnaissance et expérience des Rroms et gens du voyage en Europe. Bruxelles, Editions Academia-Bruylant, Coll. Carrefours (2012).