THE GYPSY INDUSTRY AND IVORY TOWERS: AVOIDING MANAGERIALISM AND ACADEMIC ELITISM
Sarah Cemlyn & Andrew Ryder
The chapter seeks to explore the parameters of debates about the relevance and legitimacy of Roma civil society and relations between academia and Roma communities in the context of academic research based on Roma communities. Both have generated criticism of hierarchical and oppressive behaviour as a ‘Gypsy Industry’ and ‘ivory towers’ respectively. It considers the subversion of the emancipatory potential of civil society through funding regimes, and the marginalisation of the voice of Roma communities and of the status of Roma researchers in the academic establishment, both trends being
exemplified in contention concerning the European Academic Network on Romani Studies and the European Roma Institute. The chapter explores the scope for new directions through participatory research based on postcolonial and standpoint theories which nurture the insights of those at the margins and where there is co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic communities; research and empowerment networks which provide opportunities for activists and researchers to develop and test emerging theories outside the strictures of NGO and academic environments; and research exchanges inspired by the Science Shop movement, which enable civil society and universities to share concerns, skills and knowledge in addressing communities’ problems. Therefore, research and activism can complement each other through localised and participatory ventures which empower and nurture forms of critical consciousness in transformative change agendas.
In: Kyuchukov, Hristo; Elena Marushiakova; and Vesselin Popov (eds.). 2016. Roma: Past, present, future. ISBN 9783862887361: 184-198. (pdf e-paper).
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