Camilla Ida Ravnbøl
Primary research interests:
Regional specialization: Denmark, Poland, Romania
Thematic specialization: human rights, gender, Roma in Europe, EU migration, homelessness, scrap collectors and beggars
My post.doc research is part of a larger research project, which is headed by associate professor Atreyee Sen, entitled: “After money, what is debt?”: Indebted urban poor households in emerging cashless economies"
The larger project explores the impact of financial turns towards cashlessness on the currently cash-reliant and indebted urban poor in middle and high income countries. My sub-project focuses on Romanian Roma who travel to Copenhagen (Denmark) and live in homelessness. These families are often caught up in spirals of debt to local usurers in both Romania and Denmark. Roma households make up a majority of the poor who remain “unbanked” in Europe and rely on cash-based financial arrangements within their local communities. My project explores how cashless initiatives influence the economic possibilities that poor Roma households have for repaying their loans, and how such initiatives potentially change formal and informal debt relations.
Bottle Hunters: An Ethnography of Law and Life Among Homeless Roma in Copenhagen (PhD thesis defended 2018)
My PhD thesis concerned Roma women and men from Romania who live on the streets of Copenhagen and who primiarly earn their living on refundable bottles. Comprising 10-12 million, Roma are often referred to as Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Roma are also amongst the poorest and most marginalised in Europe and constitute a growing migrant population in various European Union member states after the EU expansion. The project was centred in this ethnographic field and investigated a topic where there is scarce academic knowledge; namely on Roma migrants’ encounters with laws and regulations while living on the streets of Copenhagen. The PhD thesis sheds new light on the situations that the migrants live in. This includes how the EU Directive on Free Movement and other relevant transnational laws are understood, implemented, appropriated and rejected by the institutions and administrative actors as well as by Roma migrants according to individual and collective perceptions of justice, rights, gender, victimhood and crime. In this way, the project adopted a legal anthropological perspective on how social actors understand and act according to laws and legal categories and relate this legal consciousness to other areas of human experience. In order to have more nuanced insight into gender variations, attention was also given to differences in the experiences of Roma women and men respectively.