[Marxism] Europe invents the gypsies

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 5 06:55:18 MST 2012


Klaus-Michael Bogdal
Europe invents the Gypsies

The dark side of modernity
Social segregation, cultural appropriation: the six-hundred-year 
history of the European Roma, as recorded in literature and art, 
represents the underside of the European subject's self-invention 
as agent of civilising progress in the world, writes Klaus-Michael 

Is Europe anything more than the remnants of a grand political 
delusion? Is there a cultural bond that unites the nations and 
peoples of this fragmented continent? From Max Weber to Norbert 
Elias, the greats of European intellectual history have described 
and re-described Europe as the birthplace of modernity; not, like 
the other continents, as the "heart of darkness", but as the 
energetic centre of civilizing progress. Their attention has 
focused on the "grand narratives": industrialization and economic 
productivity, state and nation building, science and art. Yet 
might not an examination from the other side – through an 
investigation of the marginal – provide essential insights into 
Europe's development over the longue dureé? Might not the history 
of the Roma, a group marginalized like none other, reveal a less 
auspicious aspect of Europe's grand narrative of modernity?


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