Social spaces bear different meanings, opportunities and risks for men and women and for people belonging to different ethnicities. This article focuses on how gendered and ethnicized spaces are constructed for Roma youth in migration. In a multi-sited ethnography, we explored two contexts of the lives of Roma youth in Italy: the domestic space, often shared with families or with other peers, and the urban, public space where youth participate in street occupations.
Roma in Italy face harassment and discrimination, and fear of public authorities is an important factor in determining how urban space is experienced. Many families live in the “nomad camps”, specially designed areas for Roma ethnics, and experience a series of repressive measures like forced evictions and security controls in the street. Specific local legislation targets beggars as offensive to the public decorum while “gypsy pickpockets” have been used as an excuse to criminalize all Roma ethnics and gained wide press coverage.
Informal occupations are a result of the exclusion from the labor market and represent economic strategies of many Roma families or individuals. Street occupations in Italy are not exclusively Roma, but common to groups with low socioeconomic status. The “street” is gendered, and while begging might conceived as a feminized activity, petty crime brings boys and girls into masculine roles.
Significant levels of non-segregated social interaction takes place outside the “nomad camp”, that widens social capital in the immigration country and helps youth grow practical abilities in the absence of formal education opportunities. On the other hand, informal and illegal work exposes them to risks, from police intervention to exploitation.
Gendered spaces can be determined by practices of individuals and groups as much as by structural constraints, such as political discourse and legislation. I analyze both levels in the present work: how youth change gendered spaces while they do gender and ethnicity, and how structural constraints, such as legal action, limits displays of gender and promotes discriminating discourses of ethnicity.
|Titolo tradotto del contributo||[Autom. eng. transl.] Street malice. Action research with young Romanian Roma migrants|
|Numero di pagine||188|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2014|
- action research
- ricerca azione