083 Romani Activism, Challenged Democracies, and Contentious Politics

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
E0.02 (VOC Room) (Oost-Indisch Huis)
In the course of post-communist transition and over the past two decades, the emergence of identity-based Romani politics was one of the developments accompanying political changes in Central and Eastern Europe. This new political leverage presented an ambiguous development for Roma people with the opportunity to represent their ethnic interests in the political arena as well as in policy-making processes at the international, national, and local level.

The panel will bring together scholars with different engagements in policy debates and activism to study Roma participation in contemporary European settings from grassroots actions through policy formation to academic research agenda setting. The panel will contribute to explorations in the lager topic of intersecting inequality and inequality politics of gender, ethnicity and class. It is understood that the multiple economic and political crises that Europe has been grappling with will rearticulate the noble goal and unfinished project of different European polities: the creation of inclusive societies and the prevention of ethnic and gendered based social, economic and political exclusions. Promising policy developments in European level and civil society activism of different kinds promoting social inclusion cannot protect the key domains of democracies from being challenged by rightwing populism and more often by mainstream electoral politics. Accordingly, the claims and the rights of Roma communities and citizens are becoming ever more contested fields of political and policy talks. Papers and panel discussions will examine the formation of political claims by a variety of groups and voices on Romani girls, women and gender relations in these contested fields. Alliances, coalitions, and clashes across social movements and civil society organizations, targeted and spontaneous civil society and state interfaces will be investigated in their uses of social categories that elevate or deny gender equality claims and mobilize the notions of class, ethnicity and gender together or against each other. Political activism will be explored on different levels of policy making: local, domestic, and transnational. The latter configuration will be observed in larger historical regions of Europe, the European Union, and the global crosscurrents of social inclusion politics and policy making.  Presenters will rely on theories of social movements, social and political intersectionality, civil society and state interfaces, contentious politics and gender, and anthropology of policy making. The paper presenters are informed by social anthropology, policy studies, and international relations, whereas their field experience embraces Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, the European Union and Europe’s entanglements with global currents and activism for gender equality, fair racial and ethnic relations, and social inclusion.

Violetta Zentai
Birte Siim
Roma Inclusion Policies Shaped in European Domestic Contexts
Violetta Zentai, Central European University
See more of: Session Proposals