Not long ago Hedina Tahirović, a Rromni of Bosnian origin, condensed in a few verses of his poem Lacho Djive Romalen! a great part of the pain suffered by Romani people from all over the world. From this composition, it could also be extracted a moral that accompanies many members of this community as an anthropological preventive. The reminder that for a while everything can be fine and one day, after waking up, the persecution has returned.
Grenades, bombs, weapons, knives.
The gadjes beat us.
The gadjes kills us.
I am desolate.
However, there is a need to say that in fact, the repression against the Romani communities never expired. An example of this, is the way in which the most recent political scenario is being configured in relation to issues such as immigration or the ethnic perspective, as it includes episodes of physical and symbolic violence, from the proposals for control by Matteo Salvini in Italy to the expulsion promoted by the Frenchman Manuel Valls, passing through the pogroms in some Spanish neighbourhoods such as El Pozo del Tío Raimundo. The international press reflects, almost weekly, these problems that go from the daily segregation in the public space to the attacks perpetrated by radical neofascist groups against Romani people in their own houses. When speaking of antigypsyism, it is generally thought of as a specific form of violence that can be practiced or not, according to the profile of those who reproduce it and which is always directed towards a specific type of «Gypsy», the poor and marginalised one. However, a mistake shared by many of the disciplines that deal with the social sphere is not to consider antigypsyism as a historical product that has been defined for centuries and that takes on different forms depending on the contexts and the subjects that are part of them. Thus, the persecution perpetrated against the Romani people cannot be explained by a single thread but is defined from a complex and convoluted warp of phenomena. That is to say, it is not only a concrete expression of violence exerted by a minimal sector of contemporary civilization, but it is a sociohistorical construct structurally rooted in societies from centuries ago and that affects both institutional inclusion and daily sociability itself in the community environment.
This article is not intended to incisively dissect this dilemma with which the dissertation has begun. However, we will try to think critically about the exercise of making history “being a Gypsy historian”, since it is part of the problem as a ramification towards other less covered spheres by debate, such as the academic one. Specially because a strong tension between activism and scientific production must be considered since the end of the twentieth century, when Romani Studies began to emerge.
Therefore, it is essential to adopt a perspective that considers the subalternity of the studied voices. In addition to the historical configuration of the Romani subjects as a response to a complex and kaleidoscopic process, the latter have been buried in the practice of constructing their own narrative. In spite of their transnational, diverse and fragmented experience, the Romani people have been represented as a homogeneous and immutable collective through the words of writers, folklorists, journalists and hygienists of all stripes. Unlike other works that can be read about who writes these lines, closer to deep methodological reflection and the sequenced use of primary sources, in this case a turn will be given to the traditional historiographic balance. My objective will be to provide some notes for what I consider to be a historiographic problem that has not finished germinating. For this, I will intertwine the autobiographical and the intellectual in an attempt to approach the debate from the egohistorie, confronting the situation face to face from my own story. And most importantly, I will use this space to introduce into the international debate those issues that I felt should begin to be debated firmly since at least in the Spain scenario, where specialised debate is conspicuous by its absence, there has been an even greater distance between historiographic production and the subjects it analyses. I will take as central elements some controversial points in the discussion that not only affect me as a pretended scholar but from a position configured by the rest of the academy as a “Gypsy historian” who actively participates in research into Romani Studies, claiming the latter to be the first within the Spanish historiographic production. That is to say, as a central discipline for investigation and not as a simple field of study that can be treated or not at the end of a book on ethnicity.
The reader should know that what follows is only a sample of what I have been able to synthesize in my own baggage, mainly as a historian influenced by the decolonial theory and marxism of British historians. But beyond this, in a more profoundly biopolitical sense, as a descendant of Andalusian gypsies and Navarrese agotes who ended up hiding their identity. To do this, first of all, it is necessary to briefly outline the context in which this was forged.
The long persecution of the Spanish Gypsies that began in the 15th century ended up giving rise to a panic felt by the Spanish Gypsies in their own daily lives, with greater firmness since the Extermination Project known as the Great Gypsy Round-up, which began in 1749. One of the particularities that characterized this phenomenon was that the regal disposition affected a large part of the Romani people who were already sedentary and who acted in accordance with the legislation. In spite of the reprieve that arrived in 1763, the harshness of the penalties imposed fostered a retreat into old forms of subsistence and a new distrust towards the managers of power. Thus, this Extermination Project allows us to understand why we can and should speak of a traumatic memory among the Romani people that contributed to modulate their mechanisms of resistance and offensive in subsequent centuries. Although from then until the 19th century there were significant changes, such as the extension of citizenship to the Romani people, the situation hardly changed in the strict framework of the daily Spanish conflict. If absolutism had been characterised by an explicit repression of the Romani people, the new winds that swept through Spain with the beginning of the liberal Revolution during the first decade of the 1800s and that ended up taking shape with the liberal model built in the heat of the Bourbon Restoration in 1874 only contributed to modulating the way in which vigilance and punishment were exercised. The Spanish policy of liberalism sought to achieve greater effectiveness in the institutions and administration of the liberal state, so that all those individuals who were a danger to public order had to be combated. Among the latter were the Romani people, as they were still considered first-rate criminals, mainly but not exclusively because of their itinerant way of life. A condition that goes back to our days and that the Spanish Gypsies suffered with vehemence during the Franco dictatorship (1936-1975), especially after the promulgation of an order of May 14, 1943, in which the Guardia Civil was ordered to persecute the Romani people in all those aspects concerning their daily life, a reminiscence of the past.
This brief review allows us to understand, in certain way, the construction of a traumatic memory that, in many cases, was codified in the denial of identity as a product of the voluntary concealment of many gypsies in order to avoid repression. In particular, before a Spanish twentieth century that occurred with fear of the practices of Nazism in Europe and had its own history of hygiene since the end of the previous century. Because of this and other factors, my own ancestors faced that situation and opted for the rural exodus from western Andalusia to the Spanish capital in the middle of the 20th century. Madrid has long been presented as a niche of opportunities in the face of the misery of the countryside, but also as a space of anonymity among the heterogeneous masses that populated the urban city.
From 1860 and during the first third of the 20th century, the urban centres became authentic reception centres that had to face an exponential demographic growth that was not alien to Romani internal migration. Faced with a sector of Romani people who had traditionally settled in Madrid for a long time, many of the families who had prospered in the countryside immersed themselves directly in the industrial trade. This was made possible thanks to the fact that some heads of families were able to study technical training in this sector, in the case of my maternal grandfather as an industrial expert specialising in glass. A different reality within the community that has not been studied and that served as a bargaining chip to enter a society in which they had traditionally been excluded. However, somehow, the process of clandestine identity in my family must have begun to forge in the context of the republican defeat after the Spanish Civil War that claimed the life and exile of a large number of older family members who had actively participated in a political life linked to socialism and communism in their home towns of Cordoba. Places where the prolonged repression during the post-war period had devastating effects for those who had not adhered to the National Catholicism coup d’état. A material and symbolic devastation that led the elders not to want to talk about anything related to the war and much less to talk about being gypsies in the aftermath. Something that in many of our families became a repeated mantra when asked about that identity: “that was my ancestors, we are no longer gypsies”. As it cannot be otherwise, this has been remarkably codified in a much simpler path for later generations towards the centres of academic production, thus giving rise to a paradox similar to that experienced by members of the Subaltern Studies Group. That is, as critics of the colonial system but working from those same colonies that dominated their places of origin. This inevitably generates a hierarchical order of legitimacy that cannot be denied, but neither can it be a condition that invalidates those analyses crossed in general by a scientific ethics that is expressed in particular through the decolonization of knowledge.
With all this and paying attention to the latter, we will address several issues organized in two sections. The first is devoted to the state of the question, with a special incision in historiography and the Spanish case, considering the problems it contains. A second aimed at presenting some of the problems that should become the focus of discussion soon, both for Gypsy|Romani historians and for historiography dedicated to the subject in general. These sections will be crossed by occasional experiential excursuses that frame the raised. Finally, a small balance will be presented in form of conclusions.
1. A CRITICAL APPROACH TO GYPSY STUDIES AND THEIR INSERTION INTO HISTORIOGRAPHY.
An outright but no less certain statement is that gypsy studies lack a free approach to colonial judgements and the Rromà community remains relegated to a position of subalternity. Romani Studies, often anchored under the general denomination of “Gypsyology”, constitute an interdisciplinary field of ethnic studies in relation not only to Romani people, but also to groups traditionally understood as such. This is already a first stone in the road that is added to the set of problems that we intend to review. However, it must begin by indicating that the main dilemma is that gypsy studies face marginalization within the world of knowledge itself. The academic beginning towards a way of studying the Rromà communities took place in the heart of the Gypsy Lore Society, organization that was founded in Great Britain in 1888 and that a century later opened a headquarters in the United States of America. Under its sponsorship, it launched the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society and retained this name until 2000, when it was renamed Romani Studies. Historical, anthropological, linguistic, sociological, art, literature and music approaches have taken place within it. That this organization awakens the distrust of the Romani people linked to activism and militancy of the century in which we find ourselves is not so much due to the superficial role that can be attributed to it as a prelude to the centralization and export of the gypsy studies, but because of its origin and trajectory. This is, as an entity imbricated in the cultural colonialism and the paternalistic treatment of the Romani people as object, being interested much more in promoting an uncritical, costumbrist and folkloric study.
Although, the task here is not to make a flat judgment but to understand that this organization founded by Augustus Edwin John occupies a square in the historical board that must be meticulously unravelled to write a history of the Romani Studies, inside and outside of Spain. On this board would also be found the Centre for Gypsy Research, which emerged in 1989, almost two decades after the First Gypsy World Congress (1971) in which it was agreed, broadly speaking, a language, a flag and a common name. The Roma postulated themselves thus before the “new world” that came out of the Second World War, which seemed to want to recognize, finally, before the moral exercise of settling accounts with the victims of the horror, the history of persecution suffered by this and other minorities.
We have only mentioned the most representative cases, but what is interesting to note is not so much their short trajectory through time —which, if stretched beyond the last third of the nineteenth century, could bring together individual figures such as Heinrich Grellman, Joseph Townsend, Théophile Gautier, George Borrow, Prosper Mérimée, among other travellers, writers and literates— as the formulas for their content. Discourses, studies and publications were forged in the era of the hegemony of racial evolutionary discourse and the legitimation of colonialism. Thus, for our specific case, we find a conceptual problem that unfolds in two parts, at least in a notable way in the Spanish case. On the one hand, the false idea of the authorities and the public opinion when transmitting, registering and denominating as “gypsy” everything that was not adapted to what was understood by the normativity of the established moral order. On the other hand, in close relation with the above, the fact that a Gypsy is considered or called as such, depending on what the social majority decides must be fulfilled to be a gypsy. Both are questions that have propitiated the fact that in many studies the representation is taken as primary source but not to study it as contingent construction but as natural form of the rromà historical subject.
The latter is only a sample of the implications that cultural colonialism has at the time of studying a phenomenon and that is added to the generalized ahistorical treatment regarding the matter since the 20th century. Partly as a consequence of the fact that the study lagged behind activism, political immediacy and fast-paced consumer opinology, either to defend or criticize the Romani people. Especially since the seventies, in view of the need to put an end to what was a “political problem” of first order: the marginalisation and nomadism of the Romani peoplethat increased with the world wars. Thus, although closely related, the world of academic production and the world of activism have had more clashes than convergences. To a great extent, it is the fruit of the borderline thinking between the practices and experiences that have taken place within it. Therefore, “being a Gypsy|Romani historian” is not a sine qua non condition for legitimizing oneself in this type of studies, but it has been at first to generate some gaps in the form of contradiction that until then had not been raised, such as the fact that the segregation of the Spanish Gypsies was not due to their way of life but to a strong cultural domination with projects of forced assimilation. Something that is still not accepted today in many faculties and research centres that insist on reducing the Romani people to a primitive group incapable of adapting to the “new times”.
Academic figures do not cease to be narrations in themselves, power being the tool to narrate and prevent the birth of other stories that come to replace them. Hence culture, despite being a communicative, representative and descriptive art, sometimes with great autonomy, continues to be an integral part of imperialism that is built in and out of its own existence. For all these reasons, although they began to study from non-professionalised positions to the Rromà communities, with the circumstantial limitations pointed out so far, it cannot be forgotten that their voice has been subalternised and reinterpreted. The insertion of Romani Studies in this dilemma has its codification in three premises. The first one, a void in the historiographic narrative only covered both by a philanthropic production linked to romanticism and by some approximations from the illustrated colonial reason. Reasons for which the emptiness is perceived, but it is enlarged at the time of confronting the challenge of writing a history of the gypsy communities. Secondly, decentralization. With the progressive professionalization in the treatment of the matter experiences were formulated like the meeting in Leiden in 1990 by scholars of the stature of David Mayall, Judith Okely or Wim Willems, but the border between disciplines continued to cause havoc that reaches until today where the production is autonomous in the form of works that are not systematically discussed in circles such as the Romani Studies Seminar of 1993 in Greenwich. Thirdly, eurocentrism is only transcended by some figures such as Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov, Kemal Vural Tarlas or Alexadra Parrs, who deal with Asia and Africa; as well as the late Yang Zhijiu or Wei Hua, who do the same with the Romani people in China. In short, despite the limitations, all this constitutes a rich fief from which the weeds can be extracted and cultivated again with the right tools.
Faced with this paradigm, it can be said that historians were by no means the promoters of interdisciplinarity, but historiography did offer, to a certain extent, in close dialogue with anthropology and sociology, a space for greater long-term reflection with distance in order to understand the need to exchange experiences between different academic traditions. On the other hand, along with philologists, historians were more interested in approaching questions of the past rather than trying to solve problems with a look at the present, as if the Romani people had no biography and were dispossessed of a history that could explain the complexity of their existence. That is to say, the historical office reopened the debate in the face of the stagnation detached from the construction of a supposedly sovereign knowledge, forged in the heat of a dissociation between history and the very processes that constituted it.
In its beginnings, the research was configured in two large thematic sections that would, in turn, mark its subsequent development. On the one hand, research into the origin and provenance of the Romani people and, on the other, the relationship between the Romani people and the State on the basis of legislatively typified persecution; contextualized as a general rule in periods of war, invasion and conflict in the modern age, in the 19th century or in the Second World War with the Nazi genocide. Before them, an incipient history of representations was interspersed, such as the work Kinderoof of zigeunerroof? by Jean Kommers, published in 1993. This same context of academic production was present in Spain, where we can identify three waves according to the type of methodology and content produced.
A first wave was characterized by political history and the handling of primary sources mainly linked to legislation. This wave lasted for almost two decades and on a deep reading it can be seen that there are no substantial contributions or advances in the matter. Although this is logical as part of the embryonic constitution of any discipline, it is not so logical that work continues today with these frames, to a certain extent redundant. An initial break was made with what can be called the second wave of Romani (proto)studies in Spain by historians such as Manuel Martínez Martínez and David Martín Sánchez. Both continued working in the line of a political history that emulated the exercise of the British, French and Germans in the treatment of the “antigypsy persecution”. However, his studies were already part of a social history that renewed approaches to the interpretation of the past. And that they were even opening up to new approaches such as microhistory and the gender perspective. Finally, a third wave in which it could be framed dedicated to urban history, cultural history and the history of emotions, as innovative proposals at the historiographic level that pay attention to the field of representations, in line with lines of research already opened in Europe such as that of the anthropologist Lou Charnon-Deutsch.
All these contributions lay the foundations on which to rethink the role of Spanish Gypsies in history and their possible implications in the processes of social, cultural, economic and political transformation for different eras. However, if we had to point out a pending debt it would be that of overcoming the discredit of gypsy studies, both because of their segregation within the academic world and because of their widespread rejection among the vanguard of political activism. At the end of 2016, different people linked to the study of this subject met at the University of Seville, on the occasion of the first workshop of the “Research Group on the History of the Romani people” directed by the historian María Sierra and to which different specialists are attached, among them the Romani historian Ian Hancock.
At that time, I was still an undergraduate student and I came as a speaker to talk about the dissemination of Romani history on the radio. The days passed with relative normality, but the articulating axis of the discussion returned from the bitter difference between the Gypsy (and pro-gypsy) academics and the Gypsies, as well as from a sector of activism concentrated there. There I took advantage of my presentation time to transfer some of the questions that I write today in this article. However, without being able to state what the reason was, I felt a great disappointment when I noticed that the problems I raised were ignored and put aside. Perhaps it had to do with my young age and my academic position as just an undergraduate. In any case, I do firmly believe that one of the reasons why the debate was ignored in the terms it was proposed is the same reason why years later a hopeful core of work has been decentralized again (later successful from the point of view of the academics who lead it, who are not gypsies, but failed from the point of view of intersubjective discussion).
If at that moment it had been faced, once and for all, that there is a problem of legitimacy when it comes to producing discourse and that the solution lies in directly confronting the way in which it is constructed in order to overcome it through a conscious process of deconstruction, two years later a barrier that was about to fall would not have been raised again. In this case, between the first research group dedicated to the subject and a large number of Romani specialists who decided to continue researching from the autonomy of the associative movement, without connection with the Academy, or leaving the Spanish horizon to adhere to the Central European University of Hungary and its Romani Studies Program. Moreover, other phenomena in Spain have only worsened the situation, for example the creation of a Chair in Gypsy Culture at the University of Alicante which did not take into account the numerous Romani experts in the field, beyond an associative corporatism that does not adjust to the real needs of the Romani people, as the Romani sociologist Nicolás Jiménez has insisted on denouncing.
Traditionally, it has been repeated that if these academic projects do not prosper with a common dialogue, it is because of the Romani people. But the point is that we must stop establishing a system of blame and assume that this old and internal tension between social science and a fierce activism must be the object of criticism. The contradiction within Romani Studies must be unravelled. On the one hand, academic projects must assume the coloniality of their reason and, on the other hand, Romani people must not disdain Romani Studies for their genealogy, which is logical if we think of the conjuncture that welcomed it but inconceivable from the point of view of the decolonial struggle decades later. In both cases, the problem of being faced from the scientific ethics, put in charge of the production.
This autobiographical excursus is interesting to understand the situation of Romani Studies in Spain, which, from my perspective, does not exist. Or, in any case, what can be understood as a prelude to its creation, continues to reproduce the same dilemmas of the last century. My own conditions did not allow me to move from Madrid to Seville to form part of the specialized group, which greatly conditioned my decision to continue my postgraduate studies in the urban history group that has hosted all my research to date at the Complutense University. For its part, the dialogue with the Chair of Gypsy Culture has not been fruitful, despite some initial attempts at rapprochement. Still far from these experiences within the academic body, when making a balance of the situation I conclude in the necessity to raise an organ of scientific production that has as epicentre, the Romani Studies and agglutinate all those experts in the matter but having clear that the general objective of investigation is only possible with a methodology that assures an exercise of intellectual honesty, where what matters is to produce knowledge to transform the reality of an oppressed collective and not the obtaining of symbolic capital in any of the fields that one wants to understand. Learning, among others, from Latin American experiences, where there are networks, groups and research seminars dedicated to the subject with the involvement of all parties achieving efficient results. Both the support and the development of the discussion that these conclusions allow, in my case I have not found it in veteran academic figures and neither in any of the multiple organisms that attribute to themselves the task of working for the “Gypsy culture”. On the other hand, and perhaps therefore the generational leap was important in 2016, I have found the above in university Romani people under the age of twenty-five, with different realities but identifying the same contradictions.
For all this, I could not finish a very superficial critical approach to Romani Studies without saying that scientists of all kinds, Rromà and non-Rromà, have a task: to tighten the contradiction and generate a new space for the production of knowledge under the proper directives of a scientific ethics that understands the plurality of the Gypsy subject and its condition as subaltern. Thus, allowing new studies that concern themselves with the practices, behaviours, values, perceptions and discourses of the members of the Rromà community that bring us closer from another position to the eternal questions of what and who the Romani people are, without burying their voice.
2. DANGERS AND DILEMMAS IN THE HISTORICAL EXERCISE.
In the initial moments of the investigation on the gypsies, especially from the lectern of the philology, the general interest was directed to study the origin of those. Although it was finally clarified that the origin was in India, there was a subsequent debate between those academics (generally not Romani) who spoke of an exit from that country in the form of diaspora and Romani historians, such as Ian Hancock, Marcel Courthiade or Sarah Carmona, who agreed on the Indian origin but pointed out that the Romani people is a descendant of Indian prisoners of war of Mahmud of Ghazni and not of a voluntarily undertaken diaspora. Evidence of the latter includes the presence of specifically military words of Indian origin, as well as the Banjara, a narrative of the oral legend Rajputs that speaks of India’s departure from the Himalayas during the Gaznavida invasions.
The appearance of Romani historians in the academic production scenario since the end of the 20th century is somewhat difficult to quantify without a declared postulation on their part. Moreover, the impact it had on the historiographic discussion itself is also complex to calculate, not only because of the confrontation that may have taken place on particular issues such as the diasporic or warlike origin, but also because, as has been defended in this brief article, the matrix of the problem that Hancock synthesizes well below has not been debated profusely.
Those of you who know my work know that I have fought intensely against the attitude of the clown researchers who study our people and want to close us in a time capsule so that we can be “true gypsies”: illiterate, nomadic and primitive.
What the American historian points out refers to that colonial reason with which knowledge is produced and which ends up converting representation into a primary source that is not used to develop a cultural history of representations but to construct knowledge from an unrepresentative or overrepresented anthropological sample. Perhaps, what Hancock points out in that extract, is the reason why Romani studies still occupy a residual position in the Academy today and when we find studies referring to the subject with greater presence it is from the hand of pro-Gypsy institutional organizations that approach the question having as focus the marginal environments and that generally have their research resources at the service of educators and social workers. Something that I myself have been able to verify as a technician and social mediator within projects and associations in the Spanish sphere.
In addition, in recent times, a new attribute has been added to the image, unique and imposed on the Romani people in other spheres, that of victim. An equally important danger as falling into a stereotyped construction of history is to carry out a historical exercise based only on memory.
For, as the Romani historian Sarah Carmona points out, there is a risk of “creating an identity based on victimhood, the memory of suffering is woven and imposed on history. Emotion surpasses understanding. Suffering becomes edifying and predominates over the fundamental elements that make up the idiosyncrasy”. The lives of the past are commodified, and the monopoly of suffering is mediated by reducing the Romani people to a mere history of persecution that hides the daily lives of the communities and the capacity to understand their role in society. The assumption of this victimhood places subjects on the margins of history and creates archetypes within one’s own research, as has been seen, encouraging there to be “not yet a Gypsy history, but one of ‘the Gypsy’ and the anti-Gypsy”. This prevents us from seeing beyond what we want to tell and what is understood as official memory, since it is constructed from “gadyìcentrist perspectives [that give] form to an image [that] had the perverse effect of being assimilated by the Gypsies themselves”.
Bearing in mind these two dilemmas that should be presented in the initial phase of reflection by all historians concerned with the subject, Gypsies and non-Gypsies, I will end by pointing out three hot spots of debate that I consider crucial to discuss in the upcoming years, since they are crossed both by the stereotyped image of the Romani people and by the attempts to build a victimised story around their memory:
1. Concepts of people and nation applied to the Romani people. When we ask ourselves about what and who the gypsies are, the initial question that arises from this issue is actually questioning about the place of origin of these individuals who, as has already been seen, respond to a kaleidoscopic pattern. Pattern in which the Rromà diaspora is not presented with uniqueness and exclusivity but is fragmented responding to different ethnic constructions depending on the situation that protects the specific Rromà group. Can we really speak of Romani people or of a nation? What are the organic elements of union that allow this? If we consider the meaning of the rromanipen, where does the cultural construction of anthropological vocation end and the use of ethnic corporatism with political vocation begins?
2. Immediately related to the above, who is a Gypsy? The rromanipen let us to explain a feeling of collective recognition in the great narrative but the experiences are expressed in the sphere of the particular with great diversity. The latter includes not only those who are called Gypsies or what are called Gypsies (again, the conflict between representation and reality) but also all those who are unaware of themselves, as has been seen with the concealment of identity become a process of “misrecognition”. What is the barometer of identity? Are the most relevant common points such as nomadism or the strong bonds of solidarity exclusive to “the gypsies”? Should they only be considered if they are accompanied by Romani or one of their dialects? Is it history, its particular expressions or the whole ensemble that weaves together in a complex way the reconstruction of their memory? Are historians the ones who should direct and manage the discussion?
3. Is ethnicity a major contradiction in all historical processes that record persecution of Gypsies? Is anti-Gypsyism a specific form of violence motivated solely by cultural patterns? Everything points to a clear hybridization between social, cultural and economic causes that motivate the persecution of Gypsies, at least in Spain. However, we need to undertake an intensive research exercise that allows us to see the way in which these causes operate as contradictions in a principal or secondary way depending on the phenomena. This is something vital to understand that the lives of the gypsies could face discrimination due to antigypsyism or not according to the relationships they operated in each moment. As we can see, this is enormously related to the two previous points, firstly because a victim memory can lead to interpret all the processes as antigypsyism and, secondly, because the kaleidoscopic character of the Rromà community is reduced again, paradoxically and under other parameters, to a univocal image.
It is true that we must rethink the research subject itself as another member of society and not as an aseptic scientist who has the world as a laboratory. We must also think about the extent to which we still want to make a total and linear history as if history was going along a path in which the complex formation of identities had a single pilgrim who speaks to himself.
What is certain is that there is no better conclusion for this small article than the words of the spanish Romani anthropologist Riselly Bustamente. They well define the framework of her doctoral thesis and that, in my opinion, should be assumed without censorship by all those gypsy historians (and not gypsies) who dedicate ourselves to the subject.
It seems to me incoherent and absurd to assign myself to a site of unique belonging because my culture is not only Gipsy. My culture is interwoven by different systems of belonging, by multiple cultures and considerations, in different countries and contexts since my childhood. Therefore, I have had to make the familiar strange, but the familiar has also -and already- been strange.
 Tahirović Sijerčić, Hedina. Dukh Pain. United Kingdom: Magoria Books, 2007.
 In order to deepen the identity formation of the gypsies in a historical key, we recommend the reading of Mayall, David. Gypsy Identities, 1500-2000. From Egipcyans and Moon-men to the Ethnic Romany. London: Routledge, 2004 and Marushiakova, Elena and Popov, Vesselin. The Migrations and Identities of Central Asian «Gypsies». Thailand: Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, 2016.
 An interesting reading on community activism and the problems of the present, among which is the historiographic production itself: Ryder, Andrew, Cemlyn, Sarah & Acton, Thomas. Hearing the voices of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers communities. Bristol: Policy Press, 2014.
 Martínez Martínez, Manuel. Los gitanos y las gitanas de España a mediados del siglo XVIII. El fracaso de un proyecto de exterminio. Almería: Autoedición, 2017.
 Martínez, Manuel. “From the Extermination of Spanish Roma to full Citizenship Status: One Century of Hope (1749-1843)”, Rom Archive, 2019.
 Buhigas Jiménez, Rafael. “Bajo sospecha. Un primer abordaje sobre la tipificación de la ‘criminalidad gitana’ por la Guardia Civil en los siglos XIX y XX” en Revista Clío&Crimen, No. 16 (2019).
 For a general reading about Spanish Gypsies, we recommend Martín Sánchez, David. Historia del pueblo gitano en España. Madrid: Catarata, 2018.
 “Many of our race, the children of those companions of mine already leave the trade to devote themselves to commerce or any industry. It can be said that gypsies, literally gypsies, do not remain in Madrid but very few”. Fragment pronounced by an old gypsy in an interview with El Heraldo de Madrid (1923), collected and analyzed in Buhigas Jiménez, Rafael. Los gitanos en Madrid (1880-1936). Representación y realidad en los bajos fondos de la ciudad moderna. Madrid: Universidad Complutense, 2018: 53-56.
 Acton, Thomas y Mundy, Gary. Romany Culture and Gypsy Identity. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 1997.
 In Spain an example of this is the article published by the sociologist Xavier Martínez Celorrio (https://www.elperiodico.com/es/opinion/20170327/gitanos-la-mina-violencia-eterna-linajes-5930921) and which was answered by María Sierra in another entitled “When violence against gypsies is disguised as science” (https://ctxt.es/es/20170405/Firmas/12071/gitanos-minoria-persecucion-violencia-ciencia.htm).
 Said, Edward. Cultura e imperialismo. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2004.
 Recommended reading by Buhigas Jiménez, Rafael. Los gitanos en Madrid (1880-1936). Representación y realidad en los bajos fondos de la ciudad moderna. Madrid: Universidad Complutense, 2018: pp. 10-25, to go deeper into a series of tables elaborated from the systematic organisation of the existing bibliography relating to the study of the gypsies, as well as the incisive analysis of the type of spatial, temporal and thematic production.
 Martín Sánchez, David. El pueblo gitano en Euskal Herria. Navarra: Editorial Txalaparta, 2017 y Martínez Martínez, Manuel. Los forzados de marina en la España del siglo XVIII (1700-1775). Almería: Editorial Universidad de Almería, 2013.
 Charnon, Lou-Deutsch. The Spanish Gypsy. The History of a European Obssesion. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004.
 González, Nicolás Jiménez. “La historia del pueblo gitano: memoria e inclusión en el curriculum educativo” en Drets. Revista Valenciana de Reformes Democràtiques No. 2 (2018).
 For example, the “Gypsy Research Team of Mexico” at the San Luis Potosí University (Mexico) https://gitanosdemex.hypotheses.org/ led by Neyra Alvarado Solís or the “Rrom-Gypsies Studies Group” at the National University of San Martín (Argentina) led by Patricia Galletti http://noticias.unsam.edu.ar/2017/12/14/segundas-jornadas-transdisciplinares-del-grupo-de-estudios-rrom-gitanos/.
 You can consult Carmona, Sarah. “Memoria, historia y Rromanipen. Reflexiones sobre el concepto de huella” en O Tchachipen, No.71 (2010) and Hancock, Ian. The pariah syndrome. An account of Gypsy slavery and persecution. Michigan: Karoma Publishers Inc, 1987.
 Hancock, Ian. “Reunification and the role of International Romani Union” en Roma, No. 29 (1988): 9-19.
 Carmona, Sarah. “Gitanofobia, estereotipos y negación de la identidad en el ámbito académico” en O Tchachipen, nº75 (2012): p.28.
 Sierra Alonso, María. “De las imágenes de gitanos a los gitanos reales: una cuestión de derechos”, introductory study in Jean Kommers. ¿Robo de niños o robo de gitanos? Los gitanos en la literatura infantil. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla Editorial, 2016, p.57.
 Carmona, Sarah. “Gitanofobia, estereotipos y negación de la identidad en el ámbito académico” en O Tchachipen, nº75 (2012): p.27.
 It is the term to designate the feeling of belonging to the gypsy community of the world, as well as the thought that the “country” of the gypsies does not require land, because the sense of belonging lies in the soul of every gypsy person.
 Bustamante Santiago, Rissely. La guerra cotidiana, y la cotidianidad en el exilio. Representaciones sociales de la vida cotidiana de los gitanos conquenses en tiempos de la guerra civil. Castilla La-Mancha: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2016.