Ethnic and Racial Studies vol:26 issue:5 pages:879-901
The level of political mobilization among ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe has often been regarded as directly dependent on the strong or weak ethnic identity of the groups involved. Less attention has gone to the role of ethnic leaders in creating ethnic group identities for political purposes. This article explores the influence of political mobilization on ethnic group formation in the case of the Roma (Gypsies) in the contemporary Czech and Slovak Republics. It examines the various ways in which Romani activists in these two countries have "framed" Romani identity. The article suggests that activists' conceptions of Romani identity are closely tied to their political strategies. At the same time, Romani activists have not been able to gain complete control over the production of Romani identity. They have had to deal with powerful schemes of ethnic categorization promulgated by the media, public officials and policy documents.