Cei care uită trecutul sunt condamnaţi să îl repete (George Santayana, 1863-1952)
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INSTITUTUL "G. BARIŢIU"

CRAFTING AS A LIFESTYLE. ROMA COMMUNITIES’ OCCUPATIONS DURING THE COMMUNIST PERIOD IN TRANSYLVANIA


Diana-Alexandra Nistor

Abstract:
Everyday life of Roma communities in Transylvania during the communist period was mostly carried out around their crafts even though, according to the historiography, the communist regime systematically discouraged the practice of Roma traditional occupations in order to include Roma craftsmanship within the official economy. Thus, Roma craftsmen were forced to join agricultural cooperatives and obtain work permits from the local communist authorities. In this context, many Roma have tried to avoid or negotiate the legal provisions in order to practice their crafts and provide for their families. The article aims to highlight the manner in which Roma communities in Transylvania practiced their crafts or gave up to some of them under the austere communist legislation and the permanent surveillance done by the Miliţia. Some of the research questions to which the presentation aims to provide answers are the following: What was the legislation imposed during the communist era on craftsmanship? How did Roma craftsmen carry out their activities? How and why did Roma communities quit the practice of certain crafts? The presentation is based on the available historiography on the subject, the archival documents and the oral history interviews recorded in different Roma communities in Transylvania, revealing several narratives regarding the Roma occupations which underwent adjustments or have disappeared during the communist regime.
Keywords:
oral history, Roma communities, craftsmanship, communist period, Transylvania.