Commencement of Roma Civic Emancipation

  • Elena Marushiakova (School of History, University of St Andrews)
  • Veselin Popov (School of History, University of St Andrews)


The article offers a correction of the widespread approach in which in the studies of Romani movement for civic emancipation are examined only its international dimensions, leaving behind its origin and first stages, which occurred in individual countries. Based on the research of historical sources we will show the commencement and roots of the Romani movement. The departing point of the research presented in this article is the circumstance that Roma are not a hermetic social and cultural system. They exist in two dimensions, both as separate ethnic communities and as a part of the macro-society in which they live within the respective nation-states. Together with members of the macro-society they experienced breakdowns of old Empires and the establishment of national states. Under the conditions of historical turbulences in the period between two World Wars, Roma developed aspirations for civil emancipation, started to be civically engaged and politically institutionalised. On the basis of archival and media sources the article introduces the first manifestation of civic activities of Roma in an attempt to pursue their ethnic and community rights and their visions about their place in society and the future of their nation.

This article is written as a part of the research project ‘RomaInterbellum. Roma Civic Emancipation between the Two World Wars’ which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 694656). It reflects only the authors’ view, and the agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Keywords: Romani, Identity politics, Emancipation, Civic rights, Suffrage, Europe, Eastern

How to Cite:

Marushiakova, E. & Popov, V., (2017) “Commencement of Roma Civic Emancipation”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 3(2), 6-28. doi:

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Published on
07 Dec 2017
Peer Reviewed