The immigration of Romanian Roma to Western Europe: Causes, effects and future engagement strategies. 2013-2017.

Migration of Muslim Roma from Macedonia to NYC and from Kosovo to Germany: Comparing gender, work, religion, and ritual in two sites

Carol Silverman

University of Oregon

Comparing Romani families in Bremen, Germany (from Pristina, Kosovo who migrated in 1999) and New York (from Macedonia, who migrated during the last 50 years), I discuss how cultural expressions of identity change in response to varied socio–economic contexts and to migration policy. My analysis illustrates how culture strategically changes in relationship to state policy, class, and gendered issues of independence, family size, and religion. I take account of the patriarchal family paired with considerable female domestic and financial responsibility and decision-making. In Germany, I focus on Kosovo families who emigrated under dire conditions during the Yugoslav wars and are threatened with deportation despite nearly two decades of residence. Economic prospects are bleak and xenophobia is growing, but social welfare is generous. Romani language is thriving and socializing and gender roles remain insular. The effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder linger and interpersonal hostilities and medical problems are common. In contrast, Macedonian Roma in NYC have residency and are more integrated into the workforce. Younger women are advancing in education, becoming professionally mobile, marrying strategically, and having fewer children later in life. Romani language is declining but Macedonian is spoken. In both sites, Islam has grown, and ritual remains a bastion of “tradition.” I claim that, in both sites, rituals are sites where the affective bonds of family and community are performed creating an “affective community”. In Germany, this process serves to counteract trauma, while in NYC it highlights difference from “Americans.”