Between Orality and Electronic Culture: Understanding the Changing Conception of Community and Language Use among Roma (Gypsies) Using “Medium Theory”

Reference work entry


In this exploratory chapter, “medium theory” is employed to examine the relationship between media broadly understood and community-consciousness among Roma (Gypsies), seeking to understand how conceptions of identity and community have changed in moving from oral to electronic culture. Throughout, ample consideration is given to the role and use of language regarding Roma identity and culture. Note that in writing in general terms about the Roma and Romani culture, it is important to remember that in reality the culture includes a variety of very distinct and diverse groups and individuals. Electronic culture highlights this plurality of smaller communities within a larger general and even global community, specifically with increased calls for political unification of all Roma people. In the first part of the chapter, medium theory is described and an assessment is made of media effects on social communication and identity in moving from an oral to print culture. Next, the relationships between print and nationalism are considered on the one hand, and between print and the representation of Roma as “social problems” and “research subjects,” on the other. Following this, the representational space of print is set aside and the participatory space of Roma “talking back” is examined. In concluding, the authors speculate on the transformative potential with the experience of space that accompanies digital technologies, arguing that as communication across various Roma groups continues to increase and knowledge of Roma in general continues to increase that the potential for a loose unity globally and strong diversity locally will occur simultaneously.


Linguistic geography Roma Medium theory Orality Nationalism 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TecumsehUSA
  2. 2.WewokaUSA

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