Publication details

The Role of Agriculture in the Lives of Roma from Spiš, Slovakia



Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description According to some anthropologists (for example, M. Stewart), ideas of romipen are formed in opposition to the lifestyle of the society at large. This society is generally of an agricultural character. This paper is based on ethnographic field research and attempts to outline to what extent the Roma’s relationship to agriculture can serve as a suitable interpretative framework for studying the culture and lifestyle of Roma from settlements in Spiš, Slovakia. In the first part of the paper, history is examined; it focuses on stereotypes that reflected the Gypsies’ lack of bonds to the land as an important aspect of their “otherness.” In light of the historical relationship between the Roma and agriculture, this paper considers the relative absence of farming in Roma settlements and deals with different attitudes towards growing crops, raising animals, and gathering, and attempts to differentiate between traditionally settled and nomadic Roma. In the conclusion, three wider sociocultural phenomena that are related to the Roma’s relationship to agriculture are discussed: strategies for dealing with daily problems, their approach towards conservation and preservation, and dynamics of consumption.
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