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Staging Citizenship: Roma, Performance and Belonging in EU Romania

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Volume 11

Dance and Performance Studies

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Staging Citizenship

Roma, Performance and Belonging in EU Romania

Ioana Szeman

204 pages, 7 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-730-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78920-797-2 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (April 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78533-731-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Staging Citizenship should be considered required reading for anthropologists and media students working on minority identity in Eastern Europe and the Balkans today. Szeman manages to accommodate both readability and impressive detail into a relatively short book. Each thematic section empowers the reader with the tools to understand the next, and despite each chapter working as a self-contained study in its own right, the real strength of Staging Citizenship is in its ethnographic comprehensiveness.” • Südosteuropa

Staging Citizenship is a major contribution to studies of performance and belonging within subaltern communities that resonates far beyond the borders of Romania, as Roma in other post-communist and, in many cases, recently admitted EU member states in Eastern Europe likewise continue to experience gaps of actual citizenship. Szeman provides a powerful message about (the denial of) Romani rights; her findings are original, incisive and nuanced.” • Feminist Review

“The contribution of this book can be valuable for readers in different disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, in particular those interested in empirically-based cultural analyses of east European Roma or those willing to contemplate issues of the cultural recognition of subaltern populations on the ethicized, nationalized, and globalized cultural scenes through this analysis that uses the angle of performance studies.” • Slavic Review

“The book is written in an a clear and enjoyable prose, the concepts introduced are well chosen and enlighten the analytical work.” • Játék-Tér

“Readers expecting to find ‘colorful dancing Roma’ might find this study disappointing at first. But those who follow Ioana Szeman’s narrative—which encompasses fairs, dance performances, NGO training sessions, television programs, and an entire community inhabiting a garbage dump—will discover a much more nuanced, complex, and reality-based portrayal of Romani life.” • Sonia Tamar Seeman, University of Texas, Austin

“This book analyzes the social position and cultural representation of Roma in post-socialist Europe in a thoroughly original way. Few studies have so eloquently demonstrated ‘why culture matters’ in contemporary debates about exclusion, nationalism, and European minorities.” • Huub van Baar, Justus Liebig University Giessen


Based on over a decade of fieldwork conducted with urban Roma, Staging Citizenship offers a powerful new perspective on one of the European Union’s most marginal and disenfranchised communities. Focusing on “performance” broadly conceived, it follows members of a squatter’s settlement in Transylvania as they navigate precarious circumstances in a postsocialist state. Through accounts of music and dance performances, media representations, activism, and interactions with both non-governmental organizations and state agencies, author Ioana Szeman grounds broad themes of political economy, citizenship, resistance, and neoliberalism in her subjects’ remarkably varied lives and experiences.

Ioana Szeman is Reader in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Roehampton, London. Her articles have appeared in books and journals, including Theatre Research International, New Theatre Quarterly, TDR, and Performance Research

Subject: Anthropology (General)Performance Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


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