“Gypsy” Fate:

Carriers of our collective shadow


  • Alexandra Fidyk National-Louis University, Chicago




Narratives, both individual and collective, are a primary embodiment of our understanding of the world, others, and ultimately ourselves. As a receptive and a creative activity, they tell us how we are always already caught up in the enacting and re-constructing of stories. Here a Romani narrative, a collective identity constructed through negative inflation, exile, and splitting, is read through the lense of a “scapegoat” complex. Such a reading points to the way we are split between any form of “us” and “them” – conscious and unconscious, light and dark. Non-Roma or Gadje, then, are not separate from this “other” but are co-creating and co-living this identity and narrative. Addressing the unconscious, personally and collectively, becomes our ethical responsibility so that we become aware of both our shadow and the other with whom we manifest (and blame). In attending the “problem” of the scapegoat, I  hope to extend not only the discussion of difference in teaching and research but also in our social or political response toward people, in particular the Roma, and other ethnic and visible minorities who have been denied rights, persecuted and discriminated.