Congrès Mondial des Études sur le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique du Nord

Barcelone, du 19 au 24 julliet 2010


The Dom: Examining the Current Research Trends Across the Middle East and North Africa (331) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Dom Research Center (UK)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Dr. P. Scott Phillips

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: The Dom are an often forgotten minority who have lived in the MENA region for hundreds of years. Across the region they have faced social, economic and political disenfranchisement. Issues of poverty and discrimination have combined to create barriers to greater inclusion and involvement in the societies which they reside. In addition, limited research has resulted in a lack of analysis of the social, political and economic inter-actions of this ethnic group with the wider societies in the region. These two factors create a necessity to raise awareness about the issues faced by members of this ethnic minority, as well as encourage greater academic research with the Dom. This panel represents an opportunity for scholars to come together to share their research of the Dom with others and to encourage researchers to begin to address the issues facing this group in earnest. The five individual papers presented at this panel cover a wide range of disciplines, all aimed at raising awareness, sharing good practice and information, and presenting the current trends in research with the Dom.

Chair: Dr. P Scott Phillips (Dom Research Center)

Paper presenter: Dr. Adrian Marsh (University of Greenwich), “Modern Dom Communities in South Eastern Turkey: Resilience, Resistance and Romani Politics”
The Dom communities of south-eastern Turkey are historically the oldest Gypsy communities in the Republic of Turkey. The conflicts in this area and the rise of nationalist discourses surrounding identities have served to reduce the semiotic space to almost nothing where Dom might establish their identity and culture. The contest between Turkish and Kurdish identities in south eastern Anatolia has had commensurate effects upon the Dom.The negative impact of an effective ‘double disadvantage’, in the context of being ‘Çingene’ (Gypsy) in the Turkish society and in the Kurdish communities, has led to severe persecution and discrimination. Not only do the Dom face discrimination from the police and security forces, they are actively persecuted by the surrounding communities in the area. As a result, the Dom communities are almost literally ‘under siege’, facing profound social and economic marginalisation and exclusion. This presentation will examine the mechanisms by which the Dom have maintained their identity and culture, and the recent mobilisation in the context of wider Romani activism in Turkey.

Paper presenter: Pandora Letitia Patton (The University of Nations), “The Dom in Culture Change”
The Jerusalem Dom are an economically marginalized people (Sleem, 1999) and the children often do not attend school. In 1998 Amoun Sleem and a board encouraged the development of a Domari Cultural Center. The goals of developing the Center were to archive tribal stories and language on the verge of extinction (Ethnologue, 2001) and to engage the children in a school which could serve to develop skills the children need to enter public school, and to enhance their own cultural identity. This longitudinal study of the Domari Society (1999-2009) was to ascertain its role in developing self efficacy in the Dom students. The goal of their programs is to ensure the cultural identity of the Dom community and their survival within the context of globalization. Albert Bandura's concept of self efficacy involves the individual student and his or her confidence and ability to succeed. The theory is developed to include the conjoint forces of the individual in the community. As the individual community members succeed in school, the community itself grows stronger in its ability to succeed. Self-efficacy has emerged out of Albert Bandura's social cognitive theory. Social cognitive theory posits that behaviour is best understood in terms of ‘triadic reciprocity’ (Bandura, 1986) where behaviour, cognition and the environment co-exist in a reciprocal relationship. The cultural affirmation of the individual’s value of being both a gypsy and a member of the Dom community ensure the children can do well in school and integrate successfully into formal education.

Paper presenter: Dr. P. Scott Phillips (Dom Research Center), “Dom in Jordan: Analysis of Ethnic Collective Action”
Despite the Dom’s presence in Jordan since before the establishment of the Kingdom, there is no official recognition of this ethnic group by the Jordanian government, as such there are no official statistics about the number of Dom in Jordan (Al-Khatib and Al-Ali 2005, Moawwad 1999). However, various sources indicate that there are between 25,000 and 50,000 Dom living in the country (e.g. Al-Khatib and Al-Ali 2005, Al-Said 2006, Williams 2003). The UN’s Common Country Assesment (2006) and some scholars note the Gypsy population in Jordan as ‘the most marginalized’ group and inhabit the lowest levels of society and are economically and politically disenfranchised (Al- Khatib and Al-Ali 2005, Al-Said 2006, Moawwad 1999, Williams 2003). This study of ethnic collective action (ECA) resulted from ethnographic fieldwork in Jordan focusing on the Dom living in the greater Amman area. In addition, I gathered data about the setting and the interactions between Jordanian society, government and voluntary sector organisations (VSO), and the Dom. The research revealed that ECA is a dynamic and complex process which is affected by numerous factors that do not directly impact on ECA processes, but instead it is the interaction and relationships between these factors that impact on ECA. The main factors involved in understanding the interactions that affect ECA were the level of inclusion extended by external actors to members of the case study group, state policies and programmes, the case study group’s levels of cohesion and leadership and the worldviews of external and internal actors.

Paper presenter: Kemal Vural Tarlan (Mustafa Kemal University), “Free Spirits of the World: Nomadic Gypsies (A Photographic Presentation: Nomadic Gypsies in South East of Anatolia)”
I started this project in 2005 and will return every year to continue it. The aim of my project is to document Nomadic Gypsies lifestyle and their ability to survive in a rough environment at the south east of Anatolia. My interest is not in the romantic point of view about the Nomadic Dom (Kurdish Dom), but in the realities of daily life for them through photography.