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DOI 10.12887/29-2016-3-115-18

Przemysław ROTENGRUBER – Tradition, Memory, Participation: Some Remarks on Sławomir Kapralski’s Article “Silence, Memory, Identity: The Phantasm of a ‘Gypsy’ and the Ambivalence of Modernity”

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The present paper is inspired by Sławomir Kapralski’s article “Silence, Memory, Identity: The Phantasm of a ‘Gypsy’ and the Ambivalence of Modernity” (Ethos 29, no. 1 (2016): 185-202). While sharing Kapralski’s concern about the lot of the Roma, a national community present in Europe from time immemorial, the author questions Kapralski’s diagnosis of the actual political situation of the Roma. The object of the polemic is Kapralski’s arguments concerning the permanence of the memory of the Roma, the role of history as the teacher of life (which successfully competes with the Roma’s tradition—romanipen) and, last but not least, the capability (and willingness) of the Roma to participate, together with other nations, in the debate on their common future. The objective of the article is to demonstrate that the way the Roma conceive of their history is only apparently similar to that of other collectivities. While the Roma’s social memory preserves a similar permanence, they prove incapable of transforming this memory into a memory of culture. As a result, instead of drawing conclusions from their experience, the Roma tend to let this experience fade into oblivion. Their participation in the historiographic discourse largely follows similar lines. While it is the case that the history of the Roma is (symbolically) appropriated or annulled by their political environment, the responsibility for this state of affairs lies solely with the Roma themselves. Those who are absent are always in the wrong.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: tradition, history, social memory, cultural memory, inner cohesion, empirical sensibility

Contact: Zakład Etyki Gospodarczej, Instytut Kulturoznawstwa,
Wydział Nauk Społecznych, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza,
ul. Szamarzewskiego 89A, 60-568 Poznań, Poland

E-mail: proten@amu.edu.pl
Phone: +48 61 8292229

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» 115Rotengruber.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887