Posts Tagged ‘roms’

Luc Boltanski, on the social-racial urge of Sarkozy’s clique and their war against the Roma:

“Political blasphemy consists in shaking moral standards, in proclaiming loud and clear a discourse of hate that is usually censored or hidden. This has always been the strategy of the extreme right. Adopted now by the current power in place, it has two objectives. The first is to remove censorship over hatred. The second is to provoke the moral consciousness of those who are worried by this discourse of hate, to shock them, to make them react so as to tighten the border between the “idealists”, who are depicted as irresponsible, and the “realists and courageous”, those who are truly responsible, those who can speak and act in the name of a silent majority.” (Luc Boltanski, “Nous ne débattrons pas de la ‘question Rom'”, Médiapart, September 13 2010)

This is very much true. But would that mean that counter-blasphemy would be a fair way to respond? Would an intellectual among the “idealists” be compelled to utter something such as, for instance, “Sarkozy, if you like France that much, go and stick it in your ass”? Wow, that would be too wild. A bad idea. (And sticking something in one’s ass is a form of love, after all).

Counter-blasphemy is a difficult political technique.


The “nazional-conservatore” politician Alfredo Mantovano, now in office in Berlusconi’s Italy, recently said the following in an interview with Il Tempo:

“As both statistical figures and sociological reality demonstrate, the Roma people are an ethnic group connected to some types of crime. Robbery, assault and, sometimes, as in Ponticelli, kidnapping.” (from “Rom, Mantovano: etnia connessa con certo tipo reati”, Reuters Italia, May 31 2008)

Of course, this can be rightly seen as yet another neo-ex-fascist call for a little pogrom, which was what happened in the Naples district of Ponticelli, incidentally, where the Camorra joined the cops into an attack on Roma camps (see “Italian tolerance goes up in smoke as Gypsy camp is burnt to ground”, The Independent, May 16 2008).

But, on another level, the excerpt exemplifies also a most outstanding evolution of the sociological epistemology of ethnic identity. No need for cumbersome explanations anymore. Sociological reality now self-demonstrates. After decades stretching out the idea that people should naturally behave in certain ways (e.g. prefer this sort of food or that sort of crime) because they have this thing called ethnicity or culture or whatever, and adding to that the clever intuition according to which correlation is not that far from causation, now Mantovano can go straight to the point (the cleansing part).

Except that, in order to have a perfectly convincing and fully sociological demonstration in that line of analysis, the following proposition should be added to Mantovano’s statement: “as statistical figures and sociological reality demonstrate, Italian fascists are a cultural group that like to fool around with gangsters and to set people on fire”.