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SUMMER 2005/2006

You can download or print the Word version of this syllabus here.

SM 629 European Policy and Practice towards the Roma[1]

Department of Public and Social Policy, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University


with support of the

Curriculum Development Competition, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

and the Jean Monnet Programme



PhDr. Laura Laubeová, PhDr. Martina Kalinová, PhDr. Hana Synková, Kimberly Strozewski, M.A. & guest speakers


Dr Ilona Klímová-Alexander, PhD

Place: Jinonice  3019
Time: Thursday 17:00 – 18:20
Semester: Summer 2005/2006
ECTS Credits: 8



Please refer to the noticeboard for amendments made during the semester



Topic and Lecturer[2]



General background


23 February

Introduction to the course and terminology


2 March

The Romani community (history, culture, social and political organisation)  (Martina Kalinová, Hana Synková)



Policies towards the Roma


9 March

Overview of European policy towards the Roma


16 March

International human rights norms and policy formation towards the Roma 


23 March

The relationship between Romani identities, ethnopolitics and academic and political discourses (Marek Mikus)


30 March

Anti-discrimination and educational policies and issues of racism


31 March

Friday Field Visit (Kimberly Strozewski)


4 April



6 April

Field research - reports and evaluation


13 April

Policy case study – The Decade of Romani Inclusion (Gabriela Hrabaňová)


20 April

Romani migrations and their impact on policy-making



Country studies


27 April

Central Europe -- case study Czech Republic (Background, Policy and Practice)


1 May



4 May

Eastern Europe -- case study on former Yugoslavia (Background, Policy and Practice) (Selma Muhic)


11 May

Western Europe -- case study UK (Background, Policy and Practice) (Martina Kalinová)


18 May



Aims of the Course and Teaching Objectives

The principles of equality, non-discrimination, observance of human rights and protection of ethnic minorities are fundamental European values. Ethnic discrimination in its various forms and manifestations has been made illegal through the recent EU anti-discrimination directives, recognising that it is harmful to the social and educational development of individuals and to Europe as a whole.  It can lead to marginalised and socially excluded groups, unemployment and poverty in ghettoised districts and negatively influence already disadvantaged regions. One of the traditionally most severely marginalized and excluded groups have been the Roma, Gypsies, and Travellers.

The course aims to explain reasons behind prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination against these ethnic groups and to introduce students to public and social policy measures dealing with these negative phenomena at the global, European and national levels. It aims to enable students to acquire general information as well as in depth knowledge of policies towards the Roma, Gypsies, and Travellers, as the most marginalized (or de-facto discriminated) groups in Europe.

Besides providing the students with thorough understanding of the above-identified phenomena, the course also aims to further develop the students’ generic skills which can be applied in both academia and practice (variety of employments as well as social contact in general).

 Such skills include:

  • Comprehension skills: Understanding the key concepts and ideas important for the European policy and practice towards Roma such as equal opportunity, cultural reproduction of discrimination, assimilation, segregation, etc. 
  • Critical thinking skills: The capacity for independent thought and judgment on the basis of the above presented theoretical concepts (analysing and evaluating arguments and concrete empirical cases of the dissimilation, discrimination and similar forms of “modus vivendi of Romani people and other citizens in the different national systems)
  • Communications skills: The ability to present sustained, cogent and persuasive arguments in both oral and written form and the ability to conduct research related to exclusion of Romani people from the Czech and Slovak society (including interviews with representatives of organizations dealing with Romani issues, participant observation in the local Romani communities, etc.).
  • Team skills: The ability to work cooperatively with others through the presentation of ideas and negotiations of differing views and the ability to synthesize individual research results (comparison of the student’s individual results of participant observation of the same local Romani community, etc.)


Course structure

The course will be composed of 13 lectures followed by discussions-cum-seminars. The first part of the course provides general background to the study of European policy and practice towards the Roma. It explains the terminology used in relation to this topic and the controversies associated with it and gives background about Romani communities, their history, culture and social and political organisation. The second part concentrates on policies towards the Roma, starting with an overview of European policy towards the Roma. It then deals more specifically with anti-discrimination, educational and migration policies and issues of racism. It also investigates the impact of European policies on Romani identity-building processes and the impact of international human rights norms on policy formation towards the Roma in the 1990s and vice versa. Finally, it provides a closer look at one of the most recent initiatives aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions of Romani communities in a number of European countries – the Decade of Romani Inclusion. The third part is dedicated to country studies, looking in more detail on the specific conditions of Romani communities and the policy and practice towards them in selected countries. The Czech case study exemplifies the situation in Central Europe, the case study of the United Kingdom is selected as an example of a Western European situation and approach, and analysis of the situation in former Yugoslavia provides insight into Eastern European practice. An important component of this part of the course is field visit carried out in a Romani community in Prague 5. In preparation for the actual field visit, students will have mastered introduction to elementary research methods which are used in collecting information about negatively privileged groups (in-depth interviewing, participant observation etc.). Students will also learn how to evaluate and present fieldwork limitations and limitations of national statistics related to Romani people (including the manipulative aspects of the presentation of these statistics by national institutions). Lastly, the students will learn to use research confidence-building measures for the purposes of data collection, interviews and participant observation. 



 Marking Guidelines

 Our course uses the following grading scale:

 A+ 100-90%

Work of exceptional quality showing evidence of independent judgement and the ability to think critically about the issues under discussion. Work in this category will be based on wide reading, and will present a critical evaluation of the sources used.  It will contain a clear and penetrating analysis and interpretation of the concepts and arguments found in the literature including a reasoned rejection of some of these arguments. Work in this category will be well structured and well written.  It will display a decree of flair and originality.

A, A-  80-89%

Work of excellent quality showing the ability to engage with the key concepts and arguments in the relevant literature.  It will demonstrate evidence of wide reading, and a clear grasp of the subject matter and main issues under discussion. The arguments will be clearly developed and evidence will be shown of a reasoned rejection of some of the arguments in the literature. The work will be suitably referenced. The work will be well written with limited grammatical errors.

B 70-79%

 Work of good quality showing evidence of a reasonable grasp of the key issues and concepts. The analysis will raise the main points but the argument is likely to lack a tight framework. The work will show awareness of disagreement among various sources. Most often work in this category will be more descriptive than analytical. There is likely to be some errors in grammar and spelling and in the use of sources.

C 60-69%

Work of satisfactory quality showing an attempt to engage with the main issues but often lacking in breadth and depth. Work in this category will display a limited understanding of the key debates and will most often simply reproduce the arguments from a limited range of sources. The reference technique is likely to be poor with a failure to substantiate key points. The writing will be marked by poor grammar, spelling and syntax.

FAIL  <60%  Work which shows a failure to understand the main issues. This will be work which has limited relevance to the topic under discussion, and contains many errors of fact and interpretation. Often work of this quality will also fail to meet the word norm. It will also be characterised by poor grammar syntax and spelling.

 Student assessment in this course comprises of four components:


Three written AQCI’s   30%
Written field visit report     20%
Research essay (up to 3,000 words, due 1 May 2006)  40%
Attendance and seminar participation 10%

Students who fail to complete one or more of these four components will be required to take a written test during the regular examination period. The test will cover all compulsory readings and all lecture topics.

AQCI: Argument, Question, Connections, and Implications[3]

For each discussion-cum-seminar three students will be required to prepare a single sheet of A4 relating to ONE article from the reading list for that particular week’s topic in the format of AQCI. All students will be required to pick three ACQI articles from three different weekly reading lists (i.e. one article from each of the three chosen weeks). Although only three AQCI’s per person will be marked, students may wish to prepare one AQCI every week in order to structure their thinking about the topic. 

The structure of a written AQCI should be as follows (i.e. you should keep the numbered paragraph structure):

1.CENTRAL QUOTATION. Quote a sentence (or excerpts from linked sentences) from the text that you think is central to the author's (or authors') implicit or explicit argument(s). Always cite the page.

2. ARGUMENT. In a few sentences, state the author's explicit or implicit argument. Be sure to include both: what the author is arguing for, and what s/he is arguing against (if applicable).

3. QUESTION. Raise a question which you think is not fully, or satisfactorily, answered by the text. The question should be a question of interpretation or of inquiry, not simply a question of fact.

4. EXPERIENTIAL CONNECTION. Say, in a few lines only, how the argument confirms or contradicts your own experience or common sense.

5. TEXTUAL CONNECTION. Connect the argument of this text to an argument or point you find in another reading assignment covered in this course or one you have picked up from earlier study at the university or elsewhere. Present a quote from the other text (citing it properly), and explain how the present text's argument contrasts with, contradicts, confirms, clarifies, or elaborates the other text's argument or point.

6. IMPLICATIONS. Lay out what this argument (#2 above) implies for understanding or improving society, relations between individuals, or groups (e.g. ethnic, national, etc.) or any facet of social or cultural reality (a few sentences only).

 AQCIs should not exceed one typed page. They should be typed or word-processed, proofread and printed with the same degree of care as essays.


Written field visit report 

Students are required to produce a short report (one page) from their participant observation notes and to be prepared to share it with the rest of the class. Reports should be e-mailed to laubeova@fsv.cuni.cz by 4th April 2006.

 Research essay

Students are required to prepare a research essay of up to 3,000 words on a topic of their choice relevant to the issues covered in this course. Your topic must be approved by Laura beforehand. Approval should be sought by E-mailing Laura the suggested title and bibliography of at least three items (e.g. books, articles, webpages) well in advance of the deadline. Essays should be e-mailed to laubeova@fsv.cuni.cz by 1st May 2006.

One of the aims of our course is to help students develop critical thinking skills. Thus in order to receive high grades, you will need to follow these guidelines[4] for essay preparation:


  • An essay should be an argument: it should present a case. Ask yourself what are the important questions in any particular issue. In other words, you should discuss a problem and not simply narrate events or the stages of an argument. It may be necessary to devote space to narrative or description, but the major task always consists in weighing and assessing evidence and arguing from that evidence to a resolution of your question. Description should be aimed at illustrating your line of argument rather than merely detailing facts.
  • Have a clear idea in your own mind about what the problem/issue is and what is involved in examining it. Remember that there will rarely be a single clear-cut answer. Be careful in your judgments to weigh them against opposing views. Avoid sweeping or unsupported generalisations.

Structure and organisation

·         “Every essay should have a beginning, a middle, and an end” or “Say what you are going to say, say it and then say what you have said” area all sound pieces of advice.  The introduction to an essay is crucial, and should set the scene for the argument to follow.  The overall structure of the essay will vary according to the topic you choose, and how you decide to tackle it.  You will certainly need to develop a clear line of argument.  The conclusions should draw out the results of your analysis.

·     As a preliminary exercise you should identify the different (and competing) viewpoints that exist on the particular topic. Then ask: “Do I know any writers whose arguments cover any of the parts of this?” If this is not immediately clear, then try asking first: What are the key debates here? Who has written on this topic?”

·     When you are clear which arguments need discussion, try asking: “What would be a logical order in which to set all this out so that it forms a continuous argument?” At this point you should also decide what point of view you want to take. An essay is not merely a summary of what others have said.  You need to show the reader that you have understood the arguments and formulated your own position.

·     Then summarise all this in an introduction – normally a first or second paragraph saying: (a) why the question/issue/problem arises, (b) how you will answer it, (c) what the argument will be.

Sources and referencing

  • Sources vary greatly in quality and not all are equally relevant to your purpose. Wherever practicable, work out your own interpretation from the literature. The authority for your work comprises primary texts, that is, documents contemporary with the time of which you write, or reports of people with first-hand experience of events you are discussing. Secondary sources can help you to clarify some point, but they should not be relied on instead of primary texts. Do not accept without question the views expressed or the interpretations given in secondary works. One part of your task is to show an awareness of conflicting arguments by critically evaluating them.
  • Remember that you must note your reference to your source not only for any direct quotation but also for any statement that is not common knowledge and for any opinion that you may have drawn from others. Footnotes can be used not only to note your sources, but to explain how you came to an idea. So for example, you could explain in a footnote that you got the original idea from reading source A, but that you went on to modify its insights in the light of reading source B or of talking to your lecturer or a friend.
  • The purpose of acknowledging sources is to conform to standards of intellectual honesty and to facilitate a reader’s evaluation of your use of sources. It also gives readers a sense of the progress of intellectual discovery, and instructs others in the process of inquiry. Because sources are acknowledged partly to facilitate the scrutiny of your use of sources, do not cite, for example, a whole chapter as your source because the information cited is somewhere in it. You should always include page numbers in your citations.
  • Keep accurate records of your own research so that you can refer to material exactly when writing your essay. In order to minimise the time spent on preparing bibliographies and footnotes, you should make sure that during your preparatory reading, you include in your notes the page of your reference and the title, edition, publisher, date, and place of publication of each book that you read. This will eliminate the need to refer to the work a second time in order to check your source for footnotes and bibliographies.
  • Do not copy phrases or sentences verbatim from your source or paraphrase its sentences closely. If you borrow directly from a source, acknowledge the source in a footnote. Borrow and paraphrase cautiously, since the author of secondary material is seldom attempting to address the same problem as that which you are tackling.
  • When making a direct quotation, quote accurately. Quotations should always be material to your argument, that is, you may quote directly from a primary source as a means of supplying evidence for a point that you wish to make. Do not quote from authorities merely to sum up an argument. Summing up should always be done in your own words, not in the words of another writer. Quotations from books are quite permissible if your purpose is to discuss the words used or the style of argument of the author as illustrated in the passage quoted.
  • Rearrangements of passages cannot be cited as direct quotations. Certain limited deletions and additions are permitted in quotations in the interest of brevity and grammar; however, words omitted should be indicated by a series of three spaced dots (ellipses), and words inserted or altered in form should be marked by placing them in square brackets. Insertions and alterations should however be kept to a minimum.


  • The integrity of learning and scholarship depends on a code of conduct governing good practise and acceptable academic behaviour. One of the most important elements of good practise involves acknowledging carefully the people whose ideas we have used, borrowed, or developed. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in using the work of others as a basis for your own work, nor is it evidence of your inadequacy, provided you do not attempt to pass off someone else's work as your own.
  • You will be guilty of plagiarism if you do any of the following in the research essay, without clearly acknowledging your source(s) for each quotation or piece of borrowed material: a) copy out part(s) of any document or audio-visual material, including computer-based material; b) use or extract someone else's concepts or conclusions, even if you put them in your words; c) copy out or take ideas from the work of another student, even if you put the borrowed material in your own words; d) submit substantially the same final version of any material as a fellow student. 
  • Plagiarism will be penalised.


  • Style is to some extent a personal matter, but a direct simple style free from mannerisms is best at conveying what you want to say to others. Above all, aim at clarity. Complex and convoluted sentences will obscure your meaning. Try not to use unnecessary jargon and bear in mind that few readers will be greatly impressed if you use a four-syllable word where a much simpler word would do. Use the active rather than the passive voice or else your opinions will seem hesitant and your arguments weak. For example, it is preferable to say “In this essay, I have argued that...”, rather than “It has been argued in this essay that...”.
  • Unless you are a member of the royal family, avoid using “we” or “one” (or worse, “this writer”), when you mean “I”.
  • Although it is not always easy to reconcile non-sexist language with good grammar, the use of plural or impersonal nouns will get you out of most problems. As an example, use “Students should hand in their work on time”, rather than “A student should hand in his work on time” (sexist language), or “A student should hand in their work on time” (bad grammar), or “A student should hand in his/her work on time” (awkward). It is intellectually inappropriate as well as discourteous to your audience to use masculine terms when women as well as men are being talked about or addressed.
  • Be careful, however, to note that when writers use “man”, they may mean precisely that. Do not assume that writers mean “men and women” when they use “man”. In other words, be alive to the gendered construction of problems in writers you consider in this subject. It is often a good idea to note in a footnote that you are aware of this concern when you quote from a writer who uses masculine nouns and pronouns.
  • Your first draft should never be the last. Also note that spelling mistakes and sloppy grammar may obscure your meaning. They will probably create the impression of careless writing and, if they are numerous, indicate that the essay was not proof-read after it was written. Avoidable errors are likely to result in marks being deducted.


As well as re-reading these guidelines, you should ask yourself these questions before submitting written work:

1.  Do all parts of the essay contribute to a resolution of the question asked of you?

2.  Does the essay take the form of an argument or is it a mere narrative devoid of explanation?

3.  Is the structure clear? Is it ordered in a logical fashion so that readers are left in no doubt as to the nature of the argument being developed?

4.  Are you sure that you have understood the issue? What subsidiary questions are implicit in the broad problem? Have you satisfactorily defined important terms and concepts?

5.  Have you included an alphabetical bibliography of all sources consulted (listing author(s), title of article or book, where relevant name(s) of author(s) of book, title of book or name of journal, publisher and place and date of publication)?

6.  Does the essay contain footnotes/endnotes and do they adequately show the sources on which you have drawn? (footnotes/endnotes should be given for evidence used to support your argument; statistics; direct (preferably primary) quotations; facts that are not common knowledge; and ideas, theories, conclusions and explanations that are not your own; use either the Harvard (author-date) or Chicago style for citing sources in the text. For referencing using these two styles see e.g. the following websites, respectively:




Late submission: Extensions are granted only in cases of certified medical need or other dire circumstances and should be sought from Laura Laubeova during her office hours or, if impossible, via E-mail. Those late essays for which extension was not granted are penalized 1% for each workday late (i.e. if you are 10 days late, you will loose an entire grade, thus you get a B for an essay which would deserve A if it was on time, etc.)

Standardized marking procedure

All written work will be graded using standard marking sheets to ensure consistency and fairness. The sample sheets can be found on the course website (see below) under the heading “Assessment”.

Rewrites policy: As a part of our aim to help students develop critical thinking and written communication skills, students will have the opportunity to rewrite their AQCIs and essays if they are not happy with their grade but only if they submit them at the latest one week in advance of the official deadline.


Attendance and seminar participation

All students are expected to be fully familiar with every week’s required readings and bring to class their own considered questions and reactions to the material. The seminar discussion is intended to enable you to develop your understanding of the readings and to exchange ideas with others and your attendance and participation in the seminar will be reflected in your grade.

Quiz questions will be submitted to students on a regular basis during the course to check whether students completed assigned required readings for the given week. Students will be expected to reply in written to one or two open ended questions in each quiz. These questions may also serve as discussion topics therefore students should be prepared to argue orally as well.


Course Website

All relevant course materials, including this syllabus, can be found on the course website: http://roma.fsv.cuni.cz which will be updated weekly. Majority of lectures will be delivered in the form of Power Point slide presentations which will also be placed on the website for your convenience.

Course Outline and Reading Guide

 The reader contains all required readings listed below. A sufficient number of copies of the readers will be placed in the University library study room in Jinonice. Several copies of all optional readings listed below will also be placed on a reserve shelve in the University library study room and can be photocopied there. Note that a number of required and optional readings are also available through the World Wide Web (as indicated). Additional materials can be obtained from the lecturers or are to be found in the library.

All required and optional readings can also be accessed on-line via our password-protected site http://romaonline.fsv.cuni.cz. Please see Laura for the username and password.

1. General background


Week 1            Introduction to the course and terminology

This introductory lecture provides a background framework for the course in terms of the key terminology, core issues in the area of Romani studies, and the need for an interdisciplinary approach.


Week 2                        The Romani community (history, culture, social and political organisation)

This lecture explains the current social predicament of Roma people from an historical perspective. It takes into consideration that  during  the centuries  Gypsies  have  formed  an   intergroup   ethnic  community   which  has  no parallel among  other  European nations. We define the "intergroup ethnic community" as a set of groups and subgroups and we will try to learn about their culture, values, family structures, and political organisation and movement, etc.

Required readings:

& 2.1 Marushiakova, Elena and Vesselin Popov (2001). “Historical and ethnographic background: Gypsies, Roma and Sinti.“ In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 33-53.

& 2.2 Liegeois, Jean-Pierre (1994). Roma, Gypsies, Travellers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, pp 29-42 (Ch. 2: Populations).

& 2.3 Kenrick, Donald, Clark, Colin (1999). Moving On. The Gypsies and Travellers of Britain. University of Hartforshire Press, Hatfield, 26 -30.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 2.4  Fraser, Agnus (1995). The Gypsies, Oxford: Blackwell, pp.10-32 (Origins).

& 2.5 Okely, Judith (1983). The Traveller – Gypsies. Cambridge: CUP, pp.1-27 (Chapter 1: Historical categories and representations).

& 2.6 Iliev, Ilia (1997). “Somebody like you: images of Gypsies and Yoroks among Pomaks (Bulgarian Muslims)” in Acton, Thomas (ed) Gypsy politics and Traveller identity. Hatfield: UHP, pp.54-60. 

2. Policies towards the Roma

Week 3            Overview of European policy on Roma

International and European human rights instruments have had an important impact on the formulation and implementation of policies towards the Roma. This lecture emphasises on the role of the Roma in policy-making at the international as well as local levels. It pays special attention to international organisations.

Required readings:

&  3.1 Kovats, Martin (2001). “The Emergence of European Roma Policy.” In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 93-116.

&  3.2 Guglielmo, Rachel and Waters, Timothy William: “Migrating Towards Minority Status: Shifting European Policy Towards Roma”. In JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. Vol. 43. Issue 4. November 2005, pp. 763–86, http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jcms/43/4.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 3.3 Farkas, Lilla (2003). “Will the Groom Adopt the Bride's Unwanted Child? The Race Equality Directive, Hungary and its Roma.“ Roma Rights 1-2 (2003). http://lists.errc.org/rr_nr1-2_2003/noteb4.shtml.

& 3.4 Ringold, Dena et al. (2003) Roma in an Expanding Europe. Breaking the poverty cycle.  Executive Summary. A World Bank Study, June 2003.   www.worldbank.org/eca/roma.

& 3.5 UNDP (2003). Avoiding the dependency Trap. The Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, UNDP.  (Summary or any of the 8 chapters)  http://roma.undp.sk.

& 3.6 Klimova-Alexander, Ilona (2005). The Romani Voice in World Politics: The United Nations and Non-State Actors (Aldershot: Ashgate), Chapter 3: Romani Issues at the UN.

& 3.7 European Commission (2004). The Situation of Roma in an Enlarged European Union. http://www.errc.org/db/00/E0/m000000E0.pdf.

& 3.8 http://www.diplomacy.edu/roma/.


Week 4            International human rights norms and policy formation towards the Roma

Human rights discourse and politics have changed the way Roma have been treated by the state.  The first attempts to use human rights discourse to achieve policy change towards the Roma date back to the 1970s, though the development towards human rights objective in policy making took on more significant pace, similarly as in other human rights issues, only during the 1990s. 

This lecture devotes attention to the shift in the context of policy towards the Roma - from defining Romani policy in terms of solving the ‘gypsy problem’ to understanding that Romani policy is an issue of human rights or ‘Roma Rights’.  International norms to which the Central and Eastern European (CEE) governments adhered enthusiastically at the beginning of the 1990s began to work in the Romani policy milieu only after significant effort was exerted on these issues by transnational organisations, human rights activists, some governments, donors and, consequently, mushrooming number of NGOs, working on Romani issues.  

Until the end of 1999, virtually all CEE governments showed hostility towards the concept of Roma Rights.  By June, 2003, at the Open Society Institute, European Commission and World Bank conference, entitled ‘Roma in the Expanding Europe’, held in Budapest, Hungary, a number of the same states showed, not only understanding of the concept of Roma Rights, but adopted the language of Roma Rights as their own - language carefully crafted by the European Roma Rights Center, a public interest law organisation, active in the field since 1996, and a number of Romani activists over the decade. 

Required readings:

& 4.1   Sobotka, Eva (2004). Human Rights and Policy Formation towards Roma in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Tel Aviv: Stephen Roth Institute.

& 4.2 Vermeersch, Peter (2003). “EU Enlargement and Minority Rights Policies in Central Europe: Explaining Policy Shifts in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. “ Jemie Special Focus, 2003, Issues 1, http://www.ecmi.de/jemie/special_1_2003.html

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 4.3 Cahn, Claude (2004). “The Names.“ Roma Rights 1, 5-6. http://www.errc.org/Romarights_index.php

& 4.4   Lee, Ronald (2004). “What is Roma Rights?” Roma Rights 1, 33-41.

& 4.5 Sobotka, Eva. “Crusts from the table: Policy formation towards Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. “ Roma Rights, 2001b, 6, (2-3). http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=1698.

& 4.6 Sobotka, Eva (2003). “Roma, Public Policy and Ethnic Mobilisation in National and Transnational Context.” Paper presented to the 53rd Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association (University of Leicester UK, 15-17 April), http://www.psa.ac.uk/cps/2003/Eva%20Sobotka.pdf.

& 4.7 Vermeersch, Peter (2001). “The Roma in domestic and international politics: an emerging voice?” Roma Rights, no. 4: 5-13. http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=1274.

& 4.8 The Romani movement: what shape, what direction?, Roma Rights, no. 4 (2001). http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=1292.


Week 5                        The relationship between Romani identities, ethnopolitics and academic and political discourses

 This week we will discuss the process of contemporary transformation of Romani identities within the framework of recent European policies concerning Roma, illustrating these trends by Czech-specific examples. While the practical effect of various European policies on the material, legal and social-political conditions of Roma has already been widely studied, its impact on the Romani identity formation which we understand as an interactive process remains largely neglected. Nicolae Gheorghe’s concept of ‘ethnogenesis’, understood in a slightly altered way as a conscious attempt toward achieving for the Roma the accepted status of a politically organized, non-territorial (transnational), ethnic-national group, will be taken as a starting point. We will examine to what extent the existing European policies facilitate Romani ‘political nationalism’ and to what extent they contribute to the establishment of a common space in which people of different ethnicity could co-operate in solving their problems, without allowing the differences between them to become the predominant issue which would exclude communication.

In other words, we will focus on whether, within the framework of European policies, Roma can be — to follow Gheorghe once again — ‘a political people in the Greek sense of this term’, which means the members of a polity, who share political membership, and whose identity is defined in a legal, not ethnic, sense. Influential competing claims of Czech scholars such as anthropologists and ‘Romologists’ will be presented, some of them supporting the Romani ethno-national project by imagining ‘tradition’ and broad cultural unity as a basis of community, other strongly opposing such views in the social-constructivist manner. The principal question is whether the actual, non-romanticised traditional Romani culture and social organisation are compatible with the formation of polity and whether they provide sufficient legitimation for the potentially self-proclaimed (trans)national political representation. We will also emphasize the imperative to distinguish between the discursive and institutional tools and objectives of (a) nation-building project and (b) the project of social inclusion of the Roma, since conflation of these notoriously leads to unsatisfactory and misinterpreted results. 

To this end we will review the list of the components of Romani ethnicity, including ‘descent, ancestry, kinship and marriage patterns, language, social organisation, taboos, political organisation, employments and economic organisation, nomadism, codes of morality and…a particular state of mind’ (Mayall 2004: 220) to see which of them, apart of being intellectually constructed by both Romani and non-Romani intellectuals, may have now become ‘politically (re)constructed’ by Romani activists to serve as instruments of Romani politics.

Required readings:

& 5.1   Mayall, David (2004). Gypsy Identities 1500-2000. From Egipcyans and Moon-men to the Ethnic Romany. London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 8: Constructing the ethnic Gypsy. Themes and Approaches.

& 5.2   Barany, Zoltan (2002). The East European Gypsies. Regime Change, Marginality, and Ethnopolitics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 7: The International Dimension.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 5.3   Mirga, Andrzej and Nicolae Gheorghe (1997). The Roma in the Twenty-First Century: A Policy Paper. Princeton: Project on Ethnic Relations.

& 5.4   ERRC (2002). “In Search of a New Deal for Roma, ERRC Interview with Nicolae Gheorghe.“ In Cahn, Claude (ed.) Roma Rights: Race, Justice and Strategies for Equality. Amsterdam- New York: IDEA. 197-205.

& 5.5   ERRC (2004). “Fighting for the Rights of Roma – A Productive Effort in the General Struggle for Human Rights, interview with Nicolae Gheorghe. “ Roma Rights 1, 2004, 33-41.

& 5.6   Kawczynski, Rudko (1997). “The Politics of Romani Politics.“ Transition. September 1997. 24-29. http://www.geocities.com/~patrin/politics.htm


Week 6            Anti-discrimination and educational policies and issues of racism

Education is an area that well reflects society’s attitudes and behaviour towards marginalized groups. Segregated schools, unbalanced curriculum content, biased teaching materials, teachers’ expectations and attitudes, paternalistic policies and practice, together with public opinion towards minority schooling, all contribute to maintaining the status quo and marginalisation of the Roma.  In this lecture, we will explore the management of change from exclusion and assimilation to multiculturalism and inclusion in educational practice as well as issues of racism (its forms, causes and denial) and definitions of direct and indirect discrimination and victimisation.

Required readings:

& 6.1 Petrova, Dimitrina (2002). “The Denial of Racism.“ In Cahn, Claude (ed.) Roma Rights: Race, Justice and Strategies for Equality. Amsterdam- New York: IDEA. 208-224.

& 6.2   Hancock, Ian (2000). “The Consequences of Anti-Gypsy Racism in Europe” in Other Voices. The (e)Journal of Cultural Criticism, v. 2, n.1 (February 2000) http://www.othervoices.org/2.1/hancock/roma.html.  Also consult: http://www.erionet.org/Antigypsyism.html.

& 6.3   Cahn, Claude, Chirico, David, et al.(2002). “Roma in the educational systems of Central and Eastern Europe”. In Cahn, Claude (ed.) Roma Rights: Race, Justice and Strategies for Equality. Amsterdam- New York: IDEA. 71-85.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 6.4   The  ERRC letter to Dr. Petra Buzková of 26 March 2003.

& 6.5   Liegeois, Jean-Pierre (1998). School Provision for Ethnic Minorities: The gypsy paradigm. 175-198 (Pedagogy).

& 6.6   Laubeová, Laura (2002). “Inclusive School - Myth or Reality”. In Cahn, Claude (ed.) Roma Rights: Race, Justice and Strategies for Equality. Amsterdam- New York: IDEA. 86-95.

& 6. 7 ERRC (1999). A special remedy. Roma and schools for the mentally handicapped in the Czech Republic, (chapter 3:  Roma and schooling in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), pp. 15-21, http://errc.org/publications/reports/.


Week 7            Field Visit

The aim of our Friday field visit is to conduct an elementary research in a chosen Romani community in the Czech Republic. Since many Roma are often partially illiterate and distrustful, it would be very difficult to conduct typical sociological research based on questionnaires or structured interviews. We will thus use the method of participant observation. We will discuss and analyze the results of the Friday research (week 6) during the class in week 7. The field trip will include a visit to a School in Prague 5 with 98% of Romani children where we can talk to the teachers, Romani teacher assistants, Romani parents, and kids. Then we will move to the local community center.


Required readings:

& 7.1   Hancock, Ian (2002). We are the Romani people. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, pp. 103-110 (”How to interact with Romanies: Some suggestions”).


& 7.2 Okely, Judith (1999).”Writing Anthropology in Europe: an example from Gypsy research.” In Folk 41, pp. 55-75.


Week 8            Policy case study – The Decade of Romani Inclusion 

The Decade of Romani Inclusion, 2005-2015, is an initiative adopted by eight countries in Central and Southeast Europe, and supported by the international community. An action framework for governments, the Decade will monitor progress in accelerating social inclusion and improving the economic and social status of Roma across the region. Since participation of Romani representatives and civil society organizations is a core value of the Decade, this lecture will be delivered by one of the representatives of the Czech Romani civil society who has been involved in this process from the start.

Required readings:

& 8.1 Consult www.romadecade.org

& 8.2 Consult www.worldbank.org/roma

& 8.3 Templer, Bill (2006). Neoliberal Strategies to Defuse a Powder Keg in Europe: the "Decade of Roma Inclusion" and its Rationale, New Politics 40, Vol X, No4, Winter 2006, http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue40/Templer40.htm.


Week 9            Romani migrations and their impact on policy-making

Considering the deepening social exclusion and marginalization of Roma in Central Europe one can expect that regardless of the ongoing globalization, European integration and improvement of economical situation in Central European countries, the “scissors” between the majority and the Roma will further open. Migration of Roma from Central European countries can be viewed as a result of Roma exclusion from society after 1989, a change that forced the Roma to the bottom of the social structure. The lecture offers an overview of the failure of Romani integration, resulting in emigration. It focuses on three main reasons for Romani emigration:

1. Degradation of the socio-economic status of members of the so-called Romani middle class; obstacles to upward mobility for children of these people; and finally, a decline in the degree of integration into particular local communities that this ‘class’ has already achieved;

2.  Attitudes on the part of a certain group within the Romani minority that are characteristic of an ‘underclass’; and

3.  Distrust of non-Romani institutions and organizations, which leads to disrespect of the rules and principles that are in place in those institutions and organizations.

The lecture will focus on emigration of Czech and Slovak Roma to Canada and later to EU countries as well as response of those receiving countries

Required readings:

& 9.1 Cahn, Claude - Vermeersch, Peter (2000). “The Group Expulsion of Slovak Roma by the Belgian Government: A Case Study of the Treatment of Romani Refugees in Western Countries.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 13, no. 2, Spring-Summer 2000, pp. 71-82.

& 9.2 Matras, Yaron (2000). “Romani migrations in the Post- Communist Era.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 13, no. 2, Spring-Summer 2000, pp. 32-50.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 9.3 Klimova, Ilona and Alison Pickup (eds.) (2003), “Romani Migrations: Strangers In Everybody’s Land? Further Reviewed,” Special Issue of the Nationalities Papers, vol. 31, no. 1.


3. Country studies


Week 10           Central Europe -- case study Czech Republic (Background, Policy and Practice)

During his time in office, Václav Havel, the former President of the Czech Republic, stated that ‘the treatment of Roma is a litmus test of democracy.’ While under the communism regime the Roma were subjects to assimilation, 1989 brought some hopes for their integration. However, these hopes were quickly dispersed as the Roma were the first to suffer from the negative effects of a nascent market economy (unemployment, exclusion, racism as an expression of freedom of speech, etc).  Only after the emigration of Roma to Canada in 1997 and related international measures and criticism, the Czech government started to acknowledge the problem. This lecture explores in detail the role of different actors, including NGOs, in the process of policy formulation and implementation in the Czech Republic.

Required readings:

& 10.1 Guy, Will (2001). “The Czech lands and Slovakia: another false down?” In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.  285-332.

& 10.2 Powel, Chris (1997). “Razor blades amides the velvet”   In: Acton, Thomas (ed) (1997) Gypsy politics and Traveller identity. Hatfield: UHP, pp. 90-99.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 10.3 Marden, Matthew D. (2004) ) “Return to Europe? The Czech Republic and the EU's influence on its treatment of Roma”. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. 10/1/2004.

& 10.4 Laubeová, Laura (2001). ”The Fiction of Ethnic Homogeneity: Minorities in the Czech Republic” in Bíró, A.M. and Kovács, P (eds) Diversity in Action, Budapest. LGI/OSI, pp.47-73.

& 10.5 Schlager, Erika (2006) Helsinki Commission article: European Court; Czech Desegregation Case.  Roma Daily News.  22 February 2006. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roma_Daily_News/message/4498.

& 10.6 Kovats, Martin (2001). “Hungary: politics, difference and equality.” ?” In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. 333-350.


Week 11                     Western Europe -- case study UK (Background, Policy and Practice)

The United Kingdom has had one of the most progressive race relation legislation since mid-1970s, however, the situation of the Roma and Gypsies has not started to be satisfactorily addressed until recently. The Roma in Western Europe, traditionally one of the most marginalized and excluded groups that managed to resist assimilation, seem to be more excluded though more confident than in Central Europe.

Required readings:

& 11.1 Morris and Clements (1999). Gaining Ground: Law reform for Gypsies and Travellers, UH Press, pp. 59-64 and 69-71 (Over-arching issues).

& 11.2 Save the Children Fund (2001). Denied a Future? Volume 2. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/temp/scuk/cache/cmsattach/649_dafvol2.pdf. 214-220 and 283-288.

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 11.3 Lee, Ronald (2000). “Post-Communism Romani Migration to Canada. In Ilona Klimova and Alison Pickup (eds), Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Volume XIII/2. Spring/summer 2000, pp. 51-70.


Week 12           Eastern Europe -- case study on former Yugoslavia (Background, Policy  and Practice)

The whole region of ex-Yugoslavia underwent enormous changes at the end of the last century. The effects of these changes on different social and economic levels were numerous and affected various ethnic groups differently. This lecture focuses on the Romani ethnic minority in the region. It starts with a brief account of its situation in the united multiethnic state during socialism and goes on to explain how it was affected by the recent wars following the break-up of the multiethnic state, finishing with an overview of the current situation in individual countries.

Required readings:

& 12.1 Kenrick, Donald (2001). "Former Yugoslavia: A patchwork of destinies." In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 405-425.

& 12.2 Reindl, Donald F. (2002). The Problems of Slovenia’s Roma. 8 March 2002. RFE/RL Balkan Report Vol.6, No.12. Reprinted by Centre for South East European Studies, SEE Security Monitor: Slovenia. http://www.csees.net/?page=news&news_id=854&country_id=7

Optional/Recommended readings:

& 12.3 ERRC (2003). Profile of One Community: A Personal Document Survey among the Romani Population of Kumanovo, Macedonia. Narrative project report of the Romani organisation Roma Community Center DROM. http://lists.errc.org/rr_nr3_2003/noteb3.shtml.

& 12.4 ERRC (2004). The Non-Constituents: Rights Deprivation of Roma in Post-Genocide Bosnia and Herzegovina. Country Report Series, No. 13, February 2004. http://www.errc.org/db/00/06/m00000006.pdf.

& 12.5 Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE, 2000). Minorities in Southeast Europe: Roma of Macedonia, December 2000. http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/pdf/cedime-se-macedonia-roma.doc.

& 12.6 ERRC (1998). A Pleasant Fiction: The Human Rights Situation of Roma in Macedonia. Country Report Series, No. 7, July 1998. http://www.errc.org/db/00/06/m000000011.pdf.

& 12.7 Foszto, Laszlo and Marian Viorel Anastasoaie (2001). “Romania: representations, public policies and political projects. “ In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. 351-369.


& 12.8  Marushiakova, Elena and Vesselin Popov (2001). “Bulgaria: ethnic diversity – a common struggle for equality. “ In Guy, ed.  Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press. 370-388.


& 12.9  Russinov, Rumyan (2002). “The Bulgarian Framework Programme for Equal Integration of Roma.“ In Cahn, Claude (ed.) Roma Rights: Race, Justice and Strategies for Equality. Amsterdam- New York: IDEA. 185-196.


Week 13           Conclusion/Review


[1] The course deals with a variety of populations who are often lumped under the umbrella term Roma in both political and academic discourses. While the course emphasises the heterogeneity of Romani, Gypsy and Traveller communities (as will be explained in the introductory lectures), we do use the umbrella term here out of convenience, as a short-hand.

[2] Where not stated otherwise, lectures will be delivered by Laura Laubeová.

[3] This method was developed by Michael Stewart and we thank him for allowing us to use it.

[4] Adopted from Notes on Essay Preparation by Dr Helen Pringle from the University of New South Wales.



SUMMER 2004/2005

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