In This Review

Gypsy "Menace": Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics
Gypsy "Menace": Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics
Edited by Michael Stewart
Oxford University Press, 2012, 382 pp

This book documents public attitudes and official policies toward Europe’s largest and most consistently shunned indigenous minority: Gypsies, or Roma. Extreme right-wing parties are not alone in favoring policies that lead to discrimination against the nearly ten million Roma who live in Europe. These have included tolerating hate speech; running second-rate and segregated schools for Roma children; going easy on those who harass, assault, or murder Gypsies; and, most shocking, forcibly sterilizing Roma women. Even the Socialist president of France, François Hollande, has suggested that the free movement of people in the EU should not apply to Gypsies. Stewart and his contributors are anthropologists who favor integration and argue that the central problem is that European societies have “ethnicized” the Roma, making their ethnicity their primary identifying feature, thereby highlighting differences between them and others that otherwise might have remained invisible. Although this book is short on empirical social science or concrete policy analysis, it is a must-read for anyone interested in this critical issue of fairness and identity.