The special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies I edited with Professor Peter Vermeersch (Leuven) has been published and is now available on Taylor & Francis Online. The contributors examine Romani mobilities in the context of contemporary European politics and policies on migration and ethnic minority protection. The articles are interconnected not only because they are centred on the Roma, but also because they are all focused in one way or another on the theme of mobilities. They examine the Roma’s movement across Europe, within and across the borders of the European Union: as ‘illegal’ migrants, and governmental efforts to restrict their mobility; as forced migrants escaping the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, stuck in IDP camps or forcibly returned; or as EU citizens within their country of residence and the EU space. But they also look at the Roma’s efforts to escape social exclusion and governmental attempts to break down the social barriers between them and other groups of citizens.
My article is entitled ‘Between Competing Imaginaries of Statehood: Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) Leadership in Newly Independent Kosovo’. Drawing on in-depth interviews with RAE leaders, the article shows how they are caught between multiple and conflicting agendas and power structures namely the Kosovo government, the Serbian state and the international community as well as being under pressure from the Kosovo RAE diaspora that fears forced return to Kosovo.
Most of the articles collected were first presented at an international conference on ‘Romani Mobilities in Europe: Multidisciplinary Perspectives’ organised by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, 14-15 January 2010, with the generous support of the John Fell Oxford University Fund and the ERSTE Stiftung.