Caught between the Eastern Europe Empires: The case of the alleged Netot Roms

Slovenský Národopis. 2018;66(4):501-522 DOI 10.26363/SN.2018.4.08


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Slovenský Národopis

ISSN: 1335-1303 (Print); 1339-9357 (Online)

Publisher: Sciendo

Society/Institution: Institute of Ethnology, Slovak Academy of Sciences

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Anthropology: Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology

Country of publisher: Slovakia

Language of fulltext: English, Slovak, Czech

Full-text formats available: PDF



Julieta Rotaru (Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University, Fleminsberg)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 26 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In the seminal study of Marushiakova and Popov (2013) on the “Gypsy” groups in Eastern Europe it is hinted that the issue of the ethnic groups, and precisely that of their appellations (ethnonyms and/or professionyms), their unclear, nay, hazy demarcation, are specific to a greater degree to the Southeastern Europe and adjacent areas, and less to the Romani groups in Western Europe who have, largely speaking, Romani endonyms (Manuš, Sinti, Kaale, etc), which delimitate them more accurately. In Romanian quarters, the different ethno-socio-professional Romani categories are described for the first time in the first Romanian Constitution (1832), chapter “Improvement of the status of the Gypsies”, article 94. Among the 6 categories described, mention is made of the alleged Netots ‘stupid’, who were the real nomads of that time, were not practicing any specific skill, and were held responsible for all transgressions. The current article is an historical and linguistic investigation of this alleged ethno-professional category, demonstrating that the “Netot” issue is a connivance conceived by the Russian administration and the local politicians in order to solve the “problem” of the errant groups, in the context of the plague outbreak in 1831–1832, by creating a political reason to dispatch them to the defeated Ottoman Empire. The article provides sources and open questions instead of giving answers.