True Grassroots Cosmopolitanism : The Case of the Roma and Sinti people within the European Union : A report on the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the Roma and Sinti people versus the cosmopolitan ambitions of the European Union

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Let us start with two statements, the first being that Roma and Sinti people live scattered all over the world. The second is that cosmopolitan theory has been around and debated for over hundreds of years. Trying to relate the Roma and Sinti people to cosmopolitan theory demands in-depth study of both the existing ideas on cosmopolitanism and the cultural characteristics of the Roma and Sinti people. This is exactly what the core of my research project has been. Also, I wanted to bring the European Union to the discussion, since the EU is often seen as the most cosmopolitan political structure in the political world of today, and also, it inhabits the greater part of all Roma and Sinti people (from now on the European Union will be referred to as the EU). During my master studies in Nijmegen; the ‘Europe: Governance, Borders and Identities’ programme, a lot of time has been spend on thinking and talking about the EU. In the lectures and debates we had, most of the questions or problems that were posed, concerned as one might rightfully expect the fields of governance, borders and identities. Much is written about the nature and characteristics of the EU. One thing is for sure: the EU evokes strong critical debates amongst many social scientists. Most often, these debates are about the changing meaning and functions of the EUs’ internal and external borders, new and still emerging forms of cross-border governance and the need for a national identity, that many inhabitants of the EU member-states share, despite their supposable blurring nation-state borders. In case of this research project, the EU has been evaluated for its degree of cosmopolitan ideals and characteristics. In line with this, the main question was to what extent you could say that we live in a cosmopolitan EU. There are several scientists who have written about this question. As one might argue, fading borders will evidently mean a growth of the cosmopolitan world. That being a world where everybody inhabits the same planet, living within a local community on a daily basis, but even more within a borderless, global community of human ideals. Sadly perhaps, this assumption appears to be too easy. Common xenophobia, and the rise of neo-nationalism that occurs in many EU member-states at this time, are two examples of social phenomena that fire back against the growth of a cosmopolitan world. After reading this report, it will become clear to what extent you could relate cosmopolitan ideas to both the Roma and Sinti people and the EU. Needless to say, the research project that preceded this report started off with an extensive literature study.
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