Romanian migration reflected in recent Portuguese literature: the Roma ethnicity as a case in point




Portuguese literature, Romanian ethnotypes, Roma ethnicity, Alfonso Reis Cabral, Maria Velho da Costa, Chico Buarque


This article focuses on three contemporary Portuguese literary works that feature Roma characters and culture-specific elements within a wider selection of authors who mention or delve into past and present Romanian realities. This selection was aimed at determining which are the themes, historical events, lived or narrated memories, symbols, images, and ethnotypes that interest contemporary Portuguese authors in relation with the Romanian immigrant segment, a population fairly representative in Portugal (ninth largest minority group, with some 31,000 residents and an annual immigration rate of 2,000 new arrivals). My exploration (through several channels: library catalogues, oral sources, databases) revealed ten literary works which tackle elements related to: the Roma ethnic group and the negative ethnotype of prostitution, crime and begging; the former elite (aristocracy, intelligentsia), above all, temporally anchored in the early years of the 20th century; and the Communist regime, its apparatus (party and secret police) and its fall at the end of the eighth decade of the 20th century. In this article I shall focus on the analysis of the first group, basing this on the concept of “ethnotype”, observing how the image of a given immigrant population is constructed, and how this image affects its members in the public and private spheres.

Author Biography

Catalina Iliescu-Gheorghiu, University of Alicante

Catalina Iliescu Gheorghiu, Associate Professor at the University of Alicante, she teaches Interpreting (EN-ES) and Translation (RO-ES). She has published over 50 papers and supervised 5 PhDs in her areas of interest (interpreting and its training; migration and intercultural communication; theatre translation). She is a conference interpreter (30-year career), literary translator (30 titles) and author of: Introducción a la Interpretación. La modalidad consecutiva (several editions, e-book, translated, available in 1065 libraries worldwide), Traducerea textului dramatic (2009), Un model polisitemic de analiză comparativă a textului dramatic din perspectiva traductologiei descriptive (2018), and the editor of LAIC (2007, 7:2) Intercultural Approaches to the Integration of Migrating Minorities (Routledge). She co-edited with Jose Lambert Universe-Cities as Problematic Global Villages (2014, PGET/UFSC). Her latest publications include: “A taxonomic analysis proposal for research in Diplomatic Interpreting”, in Across Languages and Cultures (2020); “The Impact of Specialised Language on Migrant Women’s Perception of Healthcare Interaction” in RRL (2020); “Body in medical encounters of Romanian female patients in (S)pain” in International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care (2020); “Power through Language, the Language of Power: Equatoguinean Emixiles Facing Lingua Franca”, in Culture & History Digital Journal (2020); “The language of diplomacy and the interpreter’s metaphoric and imagological dilemmas” (Mateo & Yus eds, 2021).


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How to Cite

Iliescu-Gheorghiu, C. (2022). Romanian migration reflected in recent Portuguese literature: the Roma ethnicity as a case in point. Swedish Journal of Romanian Studies, 5(2), 13–25.