One Route to Respectability: An Historical View of Socio-Cultural and Economic Reproduction Among the Gitanos of Lebrija




Gitanos, History, Respectability, Integration, Lebrija


Gitanos (Spanish Roma) have undergone major transformations in the last half-century. But in some areas, they were already successfully included in the majority society. Some have practiced “resistance to respectability” (Kaprow, 1982) but we examine a family history of Andalusian Gitanos, neither marginal nor exotic, who did not. Representing the importance of local context and choice in a determined socioeconomic conjuncture, their cultural creativity provides a positive perspective from which to look at Gitano history. Without denying negative and traumatic treatment “from above”, we attempt to move beyond exclusionary perspectives which objectify and essentialize Roma based on marginalization, discrimination and poverty. We celebrate the historical ability of Gitanos in Southern Spain to become a respected integral part of the local community, and thus seek a different perspective from which to look at the history of this community.


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Author Biographies

Clara Chinoy, Universidad de Sevilla

Clara Chinoy is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at the Universidad de Seville. While completing her B.A. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University and M.F.A. in Dance at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, she became a professional flamenco dancer whose dancing was described in the Village Voice as “exquisite y varied... able to create an aura of beauty and mystery.” Based in Spain since 1990, she completed a Masters in Scenic Arts at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in the program “El flamenco: acercamiento multidisciplinar a su estudio” at the Universidad de Sevilla. Her contacts with Gitano flamenco artists and their families sparked her anthropological interest in questions of Gitano history, integration and identity, leading to a Fulbright Senior Research Grant in 2000 revolving around the Peña family in the Andalusian town of Lebrija which forms the basis of her doctoral research. She has taught courses on the social history of flamenco and the culture of Andalusia at Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Wesleyan University, Universidad Carlos III, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and the Universidad de Sevilla and has published chapters in Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives (MacFarland Books) and Celebrating Flamenco's Tangled Roots: The Body Questions (Cambridge Scholars Publishing).

David Lagunas Arias, Universidad de Sevilla

David Lagunas is a professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Seville.  He has taught and carried out research at the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo and did his post-graduate work in Social Anthropology in the National School of Anthropology and History of Mexico.  He is the author of over a hundred publications, of special interest Los tres cromosomas: modernidad, identidad y parentesco entre los Gitanos catalanes (Comares, 2005).  He is also the author of research manuals in the social sciences, most recently El quehacer del antropólogo. Métodos antropológicos para el estudio de la sociedad y la cultura (Bellaterra, 2018). His work "Gitanos rumanos en España. Trayectorias de vida, estrategias y políticas públicas" (Tirant Lo Blanch, 2021) was the result of a project of the Agence Nacionale de la Recherche of France.  He has written a monograph on the Tepehuas (Plaza y Valdés, 2004) and studied other indigenous populations of Mexico.   His interest in the political anthropology of tourism led to the publication of Antropología del turismo (Plaza y Valdés, 2007) and his latest work, Dislocaciones. Etnografía y antropología en Iberoamérica (Tirant Lo Blanch, 2022), is a compilation of his articles. He is a regular member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Latin American Studies and EARNS-Romani Studies of the European Counsel.




How to Cite

Chinoy, C., & Lagunas Arias, D. (2022). One Route to Respectability: An Historical View of Socio-Cultural and Economic Reproduction Among the Gitanos of Lebrija. Journal of Gypsy Studies, 4(1), 5–33.