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Othering and Racialization of Roma and Muslims in a Nation State

Duration: 01.10.2021 – 30.09.2024


Funding: NCN funds as part of the program OPUS 19


Project coordinator: Michał Buchowski

Contractors: Joanna Urbańska, Hubert Tubacki


In recent years there has been reported a conspicuous growth in xenophobia against actual or potential immigrants in Poland. To investigate these problems groups of Muslims and Roma will be studied. Being numerically very small minorities, attendant in the Polish history for a long time, they are conspicuously present in the collective consciousness; ‘statistically insignificant’ they are symbolically crucial. Roma are seen by the dominant Poles as ethnically and racially alien, while Muslims are often in blurred religious, ethnic and racial terms. In effect, in the creation of both groups as Others phenomena that constitute racialization are at work. A research employing concepts of racialization and ethnicization, applied elsewhere, is to an extent exceptional in the studies of the othering processes in Poland.

The near absence of these groups in an ethno-religiously homogenous nation state combined with majorities conviction that racism is absent in their attitudes towards Roma and Muslims, comprises a social laboratory in which the issue becomes even more incisive and therefore challenging for an anthropological pursuit. Moreover, despite ideological and administrative obstacles some groups of Roma and Muslims have managed to migrate to Poland. This mobility exacerbated different attitudes towards settled and immigrant groups. Studying them will shed a light on the problem of othering, ethnicization and racialization of imaginary (absent Muslim refugees), familiar (historically settled minorities) and unfamiliar (recent immigrants) Others.

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