2018. Social Identities 24 (4): 489-504
This paper traces the mobilities of Romani minorities between the ‘old’ EU Member States and the non-EU Post-Yugoslav space. It unravels how the mobilities of Romani individuals, who are Non-EU Post-Yugoslav citizens, were different from the mobilities of Roma coming from other post-socialist spaces, now EU Member States. Instead of focusing on motivations for mobility of Romani individuals as some previous work has done, this paper investigates the treatment of these mobilities by different states and the legal statuses these states ascribe to those labelled as Romani migrants. By using the combination historical and socio-legal analysis, this paper diachronically examines the precarious migrant statuses of Post-Yugoslav Romani minorities in the old EU, such as Yugoslav labour migrants, Post-Yugoslav forced migrants and subsequently the ‘bogus’ asylum seekers. The paper points to the interconnectedness of these statuses, but also to their interminable liminality: they are constantly on the verge of being rendered ‘illegal’ and are hence subject to deportability. I claim that while their legal statuses are being reshuffled, their liminality and interconnectedness also contribute to circular mobilities between the Post-Yugoslav space and the EU. I investigate how these mobilities are not only socially produced, but are also legally and politically conditioned by the hierarchical relationship between the Post-Yugoslav space and the EU. As a side effect of this relationship, Roma are positioned as a racialized minority, treated only as temporary migrants in their ‘host country’ and without prospects of inclusion in their ‘country of origin’ as minority citizens.