The Roma Between the Self and the Other: Representations of the Roma in Yugoslavian and Serbian Narrative Film


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The present thesis focuses on the representations of the Roma minority in Yugoslavian and Serbian narrative film. As a corpus-based study (with the total of 35 films divided into seven periods running from 1945 to 2010), it examines in detail the representational strategies employed in depicting the filmic Roma, and aims to specify a developmental trajectory that these strategies take. To this end, a two-step analytical procedure is used:
(1) Information Structure Analysis, the analytical framework developed by the present author for the purposes of studying narrative representations, makes use of the diegetic domain categories (Topic/Focus; Active/Passive/Perceiver) as well as the meta-diegetic domain categories (Frame Setter) in order to identify the narrative signals deployed in the construction of minority representations.
(2) Narrative-Semiotic Analysis is concerned with the specifics of the representational content. It takes as input the findings of the Information Structure Analysis and investigates more closely the narrative roles and plot units that the Roma are assigned in the film narratives.
The representational strategies identified in the project fall into three types: Roma as interactants, indices of socio-psychological patterns, and meta-textual devices. The developmental path that emerges reveals a predominance of indexical representations and interactants as modified character types (the latter exemplified by such literary and filmic staples as The Fool/Jester) between 1945 and 1960; this is followed by a slow transition from the ideologically-constrained interactant representations in the 1960s to socially critical and oftentimes didactic representations in the early 2000s. The Yugoslavian New Film period (1960-1972) ushered in meta-textual roles, in which the Roma characters intervene in the filmic text from an interpretively privileged and causally separate narrative position, formulating a varyingly explicit criticism of the public image-oriented Yugoslavian politics of the day. This representational strategy has been found to decrease in number and change focus in the last two periods, thematizing broader issues such as individuality, emotionality, and the nature of relationships.
Lastly, the archetype of the Roma musician is posited as the most frequent and salient representation based on the analyses of the corpus.
Date of Award29 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorRUXANDRA TRANDAFOIU (Director of Studies) & OWEN EVANS (Supervisor)


  • Roma
  • Representation
  • Yugoslavian
  • Serbian
  • Index
  • Interactant
  • Frame Setter
  • Meta-textuality
  • Emotion
  • Musician

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