Bogdan Iancu is an anthropologist and one of the coordinators of the research team within the project “The new minorities in Bucharest county”, research that covers the lack of assessing the cultural impact of groups of migrants who settled in Bucharest in the last two decades. From the research results so far, Bogdan noticed that in Bucharest the impact of new minorities is not at all ignored but the public policies in the field are limited to sporadic festivism.
Why do you think a project about new minorities in Bucharest is important?
Because their presence is increasingly substantial in Bucharest and to try to eliminate their perception as being exotic by overcoming the impressions generated by brief contacts at the restaurant or parties or from reports that continuously release standard portraits. Then, in order to contribute to the production of a minimum set of qualitative data that offer an image about different contexts that determined the aggregation of these minorities.
What does the integration of minorities mean?
It should, according to specific policies, mean their metabolization through gradual absorption in the social tissue of the city, through the production of symmetrical cultural exchanges. On the one hand, this perspective, tributary to the inertia of group-ism¸ ignores greatly individual options, for example, that it is possible that many of these migrants don’t plan to settle permanently in Bucharest and, in the context of brief or average experience, don’t invest in these exchanges. On the other hand, if the signs of integration mean to eat with enthusiasm stuffed cabbage rolls, boeuf salad and grilled minced meat rolls, the illusion of integration parades happily every day.
How do you consider the cultural impact of new minorities in Bucharest?
First of all a caution: as the partial results of our research show, with little exceptions, we don’t find community nuclei of the type we got used to by the films with immigrants from London, Paris or New York, therefore we cannot talk (yet) about a spectacular impact. On the other hand, the signs of these presences start to exceed the classical exotic gastronomy and colonize the local landscape of entertainment forms. The culinary and film festivals or street celebrations like those of Chinese, Turkish, Indian or British communities from Bucharest begin to be part of a series of dedicated events that have their loyal audience.
What do you think about the attitude of Bucharest inhabitants towards minorities?
Since the sizes of these populations are rather small in comparison to Bucharest population, I don’t think there are general perceptions. However they surely overcame the times when the stereotypes governed almost any contact.
How do you comment on the public policies in this field?
I don’t see anything else than sporadic festivism and that is why, unfortunately, I cannot make more complex comments. I think that projects of this type we are developing now can provide information that calibrate future policies (let’s hope they will appear) on realities on site.
But the trends from Europe?
It depends on which part of Europe we are talking about. It’s obvious that if we refer to countries where war refugees are now going probably there is no reasons for empathy/sympathy. In general, it is aimed the attraction of unprofitable professional categories but on the whole the rejection or aggravation of Eastern migratory flows and the effects of the economic crisis emphasized this trend.
Which do you think are the main integration / accommodation barriers of new minorities who settle in Bucharest?
The accommodation barriers can be rather represented by general situations: from difficulties in finding familiar food products to forms of socializing, crowded traffic, insufficient green areas etc.
What is attractive for the new minorities in Bucharest?
I think it is a city with a very dynamic economy, quite safe and with cosmopolitan trends, in which a part of these minorities are positively discriminated and find opportunities which are possibly lost or reduced in native places.