In the early 1950's and early 1960's Sweden, two Romani men, Karl and Sven, handed in their written life stories to the folklorist Carl-Herman Tillhagen at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, who added them to the museum archive. Karl identified as "zigenare" (Gypsy, or Kelderash Roma), and Sven as "resande" (Traveller). These life-stories were written in the aftermath of a public debate on "tinkers" containing suggestions such as sterilization, politics of territorial exclusion while the Kelderash Roma to a large extent were still excluded from permanent housing and schools. The narratives are read as an act of "talking back" (Hancock 2010), by the authors to the majority population in a discriminatory and often racist societal climate. The inclusion of the stories in a national archival collection provides an opportunity to see the history of a few members of Romani groups in Sweden from an in-group perspective, in opposition to the otherwise often stereotypical and antigypsyist portrayals of these groups in the archival sphere. The article focuses on how the narrators positioned themselves and which issues they wished to mediate to the supposed majority Swedish readers.
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