ROMA IN SLOVAKIA – SILENT AND INVISIBLE MINORITY (SOCIAL NETWORKING AND PASTORAL PENTECOSTAL DISCOURSE AS A CASE OF GIVING VOICE AND POSITIVE VISIBILITY)
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The contribution is meant to be a micro-case study to the issue of institutional production and reproduction of security of a selected minority group in Slovakia, through tracing the process of social networking and re-construction of the (ethnic) identity on a religious basis. Principal attention is paid to the analysis of the trans-social and trans-ethnic discourse and the concept of New Roma as a de-ethnicised and a historically constructed label with positive and inscriptive connotations. The Pentecostal concept of the Family of God is studied in connection with the perception of the increased feeling of security not only within primary (family) networks, but also within hybrid (religion-based) networks. The New Roma concept offered to Roma by pastors would increase the potential of Roma to enter also secondary (professional) and other kinds of networks within the mainstream society and allow them positive visibility at the mezzo-level of society. The new forms of social networking hand in hand with the new concept of de-ethnicised and de-essentialised identity would allow Roma to change the management techniques from making security through invisibility to a more emancipative and assertive technique employing the paradigm “more visible = more secure”. The author points out the forced ethnicisation of the categories of Rom and Roma nation at the level of the practical discourse. From this point of view, the traditional type of ethnicity (based on traditional definitions of the nation) is often intentionally over-communicated. Both ethnicisation (excessive accentuation of the ethnic perspective) and de-ethnicisation tools for an objective fixing of the unfavourable position of Roma ethnic minority. This may produce a strong feeling of cultural hostility and insecurity on “both sides”. The author picks up the cases from practice and turns attention to the analysis of the deconstruction a consequent reconstruction of the label Roma in the Pentecostal pastoral discourse among the Roma in Slovakia. She shows how it works with a positive concept of Romahood in an historic manner, i.e. using the concept of “Family of God”. The comparative analysis of construction of (new) Romahood in pastoral discourse has shown that it is constructed as a category of practice, which is intentionally ethnically emptied to a large extent and creatively filled with specific content in line with the creed of good, moral, useful and decent life. This approach enables the “new Roma” to adopt new, socially and personally more favourable and secure positions in the new late-modern world.
135 – 157
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