Reconstructing the origins and migrations of diasporic populations: The case of the European gypsies

Radu P. Ioviţǎ, Theodore G. Schurr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The sociohistorical study of Gypsies/Sinti/Roma has been dominated by the "Gypsy-lorist" paradigm. According to this paradigm, these itinerant people belong to a unitary ethnic group of South Asian origin whose cultural practices have been preserved over the centuries. Recently, this perspective has come under criticism for perpetuating the image of Gypsies as an isolate within the wider context of the development of European societies, and, in particular, for placing too much importance on the external origin of Gypsy cultural and linguistic practices. This article attempts to place the available biological anthropological data for Roma origins and population history (from molecular genetic and clinical studies) in the wider ethnohistorical and linguistic context, and assesses their potential impact for an integrationist approach to Gypsy studies. These data suggest that, while the "Gypsy-lorist" paradigm is problematic, Gypsy populations share a common biological origin, a reality that should not be ignored.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)267-281
    Number of pages15
    JournalAmerican Anthropologist
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 2004


    • Diaspora
    • Gypsy
    • Roma
    • Y-chromosome
    • mtDNA

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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