Mobility interrogating free movement: Roma acts of European citizenship

Claudia Aradau, Jef Huysmans, P. G. Macioti, Vicki Squire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


On 8 June 2008, groups of Roma and Sinti people took to the streets of Rome alongside their supporters and other activists in an attempt to challenge the ‘security package’ passed by the Berlusconi government and those laws and regulations that were increasingly perceived as discriminatory. ‘The Roma people come out of the camps!’ proclaimed the headline of one of Italy’s main daily newspapers, La Repubblica. ‘I campi nomadi’ or ‘camps for nomads’ have been a semantic and spatial fixture of Italian political life since the 1960s, when they were set up in response to the presumed nomadism of Roma populations, particularly those coming from Yugoslavia (Piasere 2006). More recently, Roma camps have come to the attention of European institutions, with the dismantling of the so-called ‘unauthorised’ camps inhabited by the Roma, coupled with evictions and the relocation of some Roma groups to a smaller number of official camps located outside of urban centres. The demonstration, alongside the debates about the ‘campi nomadi’ in Italy, have brought into the limelight the problem of mobility as it pertains to the Roma. A range of different mobilities play out in this site of the 8 June demonstration: the supposedly excessive mobility of the Roma as ‘nomads’; their mobility as European and/or Italian citizens under free movement regulations; their mobility both across national borders and across urban, less visible, boundaries; the immobility enforced by the camps; the forced mobility between camps entailed by continuous evictions and camp closures; and the purported ‘voluntary’ mobility of deportation practices. Questions of physical mobility and immobility appear intertwined with questions of social and political (im)mobility, even as they are often kept separate in debates about European citizenship and freedom of movement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnacting European Citizenship
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781139524025, 9781107033962
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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