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“After all, they are nomads, aren’t they?”: Roma transnationalism and health issues

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Alunni, L. (2012). “After all, they are nomads, aren’t they?”: Roma transnationalism and health issues. MMG Working Paper, (12-20).

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-7D3F-2
For Roma groups living in Italy, nomadism is a trait that is simultaneously externally attributed to them as a “cultural typical characteristic” and shaped by the state, while also determining groups’ transnational dynamics as an internal response to the power technologies that Roma encounter in the field of healthcare. In this context, medical transnationalism plays a role in the personal networks of Roma citizens who prefer to travel to the countries of their families’ origin for healing purposes rather than rely on the Italian public health system due to their problematic relationships with it. This configuration leads subjects to a forced integration of multiple complementary and incomplete medical approaches (the Italian health system, that of their origin country, their cultural approach to the body, etc.), resulting in a medical fragmentation directly shaped by the Roma’s precarious forms of citizenship and the public policies developed to address their issues. The aim of this text is to analyse, through an ethnographic case, how health policies participate in the construction of a state of permanent exception nourished by the forced mobility of people engaged in a settling process.