Official Deportations of ‘Vagabonds’ and ‘Romanichas’ in Geneva and Haute-Savoie (1900–1914): Connecting Categories of Exclusion

Author(s) : Irma Gadient

Source : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94247-6_5

Abstract:

« This contribution examines deportation practices by authorities in the Swiss canton of Geneva and the adjacent French department Haute-Savoie vis-à-vis mostly male migrants who were socioeconomically marginalised and led mobile lives. This article can be placed within a historical context characterised by ever more repressive migration control regimes and increasing administrative encroachment by nation-states on the lives of individuals starting around 1880. The study shows how people deprecatingly called ‘vagabonds’ were made ‘irregular’ through practices of registration and classification, and how official classification practices changed in the two decades before 1914. When it was impossible for the authorities in Geneva and Haute-Savoie to determine the individual nationality of some of the ‘vagabonds,’ they assigned them to the administrative classification ‘romanichas,’ an act that had far-reaching consequences on the lives of those labelled with that term. »

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