Patchwork Economies in Europe: Economic Strategies Among Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen

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This chapter investigates the economic strategies of a group of Romanian Roma, who live in homelessness in Copenhagen. It draws on 13 months of anthropological fieldwork with Roma women and men who migrate continuously between Denmark and Romania and who mainly make a living by collecting refundable bottles and cans in Copenhagen. They refer to themselves as badocari, which translates to “bot-tle people” in Romanian. The chapter proposes the concept of “patchwork econ-omy” to frame the micro economic strategies that the badocari engage in. The analogy of patchwork crafting serves to illustrate how the households’ economies rest upon a constant “stitching together” of various unreliable income sources that are scrap based and have no interconnection but due to their unreliability and minor revenue cannot stand alone to support the family. Furthermore, it illustrates how debt constitutes the background quilt against which the patchwork economy is con-tinuously reconfigured. Finally, the chapter presents analytical insight into the inter-connectedness between the micro economy of the Roma household and the broader social and political context of Romania and argues that the former should be regarded as a direct response to the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Constructing Roma Migrants : European Narratives and Local Governance
EditorsTina Magazzini, Stefano Piemontese
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer VS
Publication date23 Feb 2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-11372-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-11373-5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2019
SeriesIMISCOE Research

ID: 213865721