Those Who Count

Expert Practices of Roma Classification
Author: 
ISBN: 
978-963-386-114-1
cloth
$60.00 / €52.00 / £40.00
Publication date: 
2016
292 pages

The way in which researchers, experts and scientists classify people—in this case the Roma—can have serious consequences. Highly repetitive Roma-related themes and in conjunction with mass media production, the topics such as poverty, lack of education, unemployment and welfare dependency, and all these were transformed into an iconic depiction of Roma. A critical reading of Roma-related literature illuminates the implications of the objectification of people's private lives, and that the scientific and expert findings circulated by Roma-related research are highly influenced by the political regimes in power.

As a result of this a consistently negative image of Roma persists. Many of those labeled as Roma internalize these enduring stereotypes, which limits their expectations, and often negatively influences their life course.

In the author’s view, the best way is not to analyze the Roma themselves (since ethnic identity is contextual and fluid) but to look at their various classifiers—and especially to the expert categorizers—and to the various means of objectification. The study contributes to a critical debate which could lead to more sensitivity, more prudent assumptions, descriptions and methodological designs, and may assist in depoliticizing Roma ethnicity.

acknowledgments

introduction 
CHAPTER 1: EPISTEMIC AND POLITICAL
CLASSIFICATIONS
1. Classifications that Matter 
Strengthening the object of study 
Static and Variable in Roma classifications
2. Scientific Interests and Political Relevance
The political economy of knowledge production
3. From Expert to Self-Ascription
CHAPTER 2: ETHNICITY THEORIES AND
RESEARCH PRACTICES
1. Constructivist Theories vs. Essentialist
Practices
Ethnicity as a fiction made by science 
The entrepreneurial side of ethnicity 
Ethnicity as an artificial boundary
Ethnicity as an uncritical circulated category
viii Table of Contents
2. Roma Ethnicity Measurement in Sociological
Surveys
Framing questions and interpreting findings in Roma-related
surveys
CHAPTER 3: DISCIPLINARY TRADITIONS IN THE
STUDY OF ROMA 
1. From Police Profiling to Policy Research
Profiles 
2. Anthropological, Historical, and Linguistic
Accounts of Roma
Linguistics and historiography of Roma
Social history on Roma minoritization and stigmatization 
Anthropological views on Roma origin: Exoticization and
irrelevance 
3. Roma Identity between Activism and Politics
4. Studies on Roma Discrimination 
CHAPTER 4: ETHNICITY INSCRIPTIONS IN
CENSUSES AND SURVEYS
1. The Census in Racial Policy Regimes
The Census in Nazi Germany 
The Census in apartheid South Africa
2. Ethnicity Inscription in Modern Censuses
Governmental practices of recording ethnicity in censuses
The Census as a tool of governance 
Resistance to census categorization 
3. From Fiscal to Ethnic Categories and Further
On to ‘Ethnic Unavailable’
Gypsies as a social and fiscal category
Gypsies as an undercounted census category
Roma as an unavailable ethnic category
Table of Contents ix
4. Problematic Consensus on the Roma
Undercount in Censuses
5. Representative Surveys Samples Built on
Unrepresentative Census Data
CHAPTER 5: INFLUENCERS OF ACADEMIC AND
EXPERT DISCOURSE ABOUT ROMA
1. A Bibliometric Approach
2. Institutionalization of Roma Category in
Academic Discourse
3. Disentangling Influence
4. Who is Who in Expert Discourse about Roma 
CHAPTER 6: CASE STUDIES ON ROMA-RELATED
DISCOURSE
1. Recycling Frames in World Bank Publications
(Case Study 1)
Cultural frames
Repetitio est mater studiourum
Selectivity of sources and assembling evidence in Roma-related
research
2. Roma Welfare Dependency:
How Representations are Created and
Dismantled (Case Study 2)
Unmaking public opinion
3. Genetic Studies: Interest in Roma Origin(s) and
Mobility (Case Study 3) 
Endogamy as a master narrative frame in Roma-related genetic
papers
The unbearable generalization: From convenience samples to
Roma population
Roma as subjects of medical genetic research
4. “The Sun is a Gypsy Stove” (Case Study 4)
CHAPTER 7: VISUAL DEPICTIONS OF ROMA IN
EXPERT PUBLICATIONS
1. Reading Photography: Pretext, Text, and
Context
Selection of photographs for analysis
2. Roma Images in Policy Literature
Roma girl writing in a schoolbook
Children by the garbage dumpsite
The smoking Roma
3. The Untold Roma Story or the Repressed
Normalcy
conclusions
bibliography 
index 

"Those who name have the power to decide who and what something is. It follows then that groups who name themselves get to control their narratives and ultimately who they are as a people. Naming and its consequences for the Romani peoples occupy Mihai Surdu’s thought-provoking and timely volume Those Who Count. Rarely has a volume that I have read caused me as a scholar to be so circumspect about my scholarship and the analytical means that I use to arrive at conclusions. But if we consider that most fundamental information about who we have termed “Roma” is incorrect, then what should we consider those products that were created on the basis of that information? Surdu challenges those whose work is focused on Roma in some way to engage with that question and challenge our assumptions and fundamental understanding of those who we call and count as “Roma.”
"Mihai Surdu's study is interesting and reminds us of the importance of being sensitive to words and ideas that might unintentionally promote age-old stereotypes."