East to East: Czech to Indian Nationalism

articlespotlight Yet again we have selected some articles for you which speak to the news from last week’s news bites.

 Developing an Effective Romani Integration Strategy: Experiences of Ethnoculturally Neutral and Specific Policies in the Czech Republic Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 595–618, December 2008

While the question of how to integrate Romani communities has increased in political significance since the 1990s, a consensus has yet to be reached on how best to design integration policies for such a heterogeneous group of people. This article examines debates on whether ethnoculturally specific or neutral policies are more appropriate. Using the Czech Romani integration policy as a case study, it identifies as a significant problem the conflation of the Romani ethnic identity with the low socio-economic status of many (but not all) Roma. This has led to a policy focus on programmes to tackle social deprivation rather than addressing the discrimination which affects all Roma regardless of class. As a consequence of the decentralisation of power in the Czech Republic and the ingrained nature of anti-Romani prejudice, policies, whether ethnoculturally neutral or specific, will be implemented or rejected at the local level on the basis of local priorities.

Identities in India: Region, Nationality and Nationalism – A Theoretical Framework Volume 7, Issue 2, pages 79–93, September 2007

Given the complexity of identity in India, where ethnicity alone can only inadequately define constituent regional communities such as the Oriyas, Bengalis, Tamils and Keralites, a regional perspective provides a more useful analytical approach. In India, a territorially defined region is the most inclusive segment, which has linguistic, historical and socio-cultural connotations. Apart from the historical importance of region, it has now taken many ethnic characteristics within its ambit. While discussing the importance of ‘region’ in India, this article tries to show the weakness of an ethnic perspective in defining the identity of various language-based, but geographically confined, communities of India. The article also tries to explore how regional identities can be reconciled with a pan-Indian ideology. Perhaps in the post-modern world, this is the greatest challenge that India has to grapple with, and one that requires judicious policies and practices

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