07 SES 12 C, Celebrating and Displaying Diversity
We can repeatedly hear that co-existence of Roma and non-Roma population is difficult in many European countries (Avery, 2017; Kondakci, 2017; Levinson, 2017; Morávková, 2008). It seems that on one hand it is a normal situation of co-existence on any minority and majority group but at the same time permanent interest in Roma minority suggests, that so called “Roma issue” is something specific.
We can find quite many theories on general co-operation or co-existence of minority and majority population and aspects, which influence its quality (Barlow et al, 2013). Contact between majority and minority population can lead to integration but at the same time to assimilation or segregation (Berry, 1997 and 2001, Hammer, Bennett, & Wiseman, 2003). And it is very often influenced also by terminology and words in general, which are used to describe reality of co-existence of minority and majority groups (Bikmena and Sunarb, 2015; Molina, 2015; Moree, Vávrová, & Felcmanová, 2017; Setti, 2017, Yanov & van der Hart, 2013).
But at the same time we know from practical life that there is wide range of activities, which are organized by representatives of minority and majority groups together. And we know that the more contact, the bigger chance that co-existence would be successful. It pays for wide range of environments – from schools to cultural and artistic activities (Moree, Vávrová, & Felcmanová, 2017). However, paradoxically we can find more sources about difficulties then about moments of successful co-existence (Gkofa, 2017; Levinson, 2017). This was the reason for exploratory research conducted from March till December 2017. Since 2017 International Roma Day is celebrated in the Czech Republic. This event is led by ARA ART NGO, which is a group of young Roma activists. Every year there is a motto for the festive event on 8th April. The motto of 2017 was “Můžeme spolu” [We can be together]. This motto became at the same time main topic for research among activists of Roma and non-Roma background about our co-existence and about concrete situations and environments (schools, artistic events, civil society etc.), where it is perceived as successful and non-successful.
40 representatives of minority and majority groups were interviewed in period March – December 2017. The respondents were people who are active in projects, which promote co-operation and who have experience running these projects together – which means with representatives of the other group. The sample was constructed by means of snow-ball method. Interviews were published in server www.romea.cz. The research questions were following: What leads people to organizing things together? What is the role of education in the individual biographies of these leaders? Which strategies help to overcome stereotypes and prejudices in concrete projects and situations? How do they perceive words, which usually divide people like Roma, non-Roma, Czechs, Gipsy etc.? Interviews were taped and coded.
The expected outcomes have several levels: Personal level – the data show that all individuals experienced some kind of prejudices but at the same time in the moment they have contacts to people from out-group in their surroundings, it is much easier to overcome these experiences. Societal level – respondents show concrete examples of changing the understanding of “normality” in public space. In the moment that they start doing things in a mixed group of people, their surrounding starts to react positively. Education is perceived as an important tool to overcome prejudices but at the same time schools are very often an environment where prejudices and discrimination are experienced. Words like Roma, non-Roma and other are perceived as very difficult. Not because they would not have important meaning for respondents but because they are very often used in the context, which divides people, who feel to be connected. Discrimination – skin color and inability to overcome prejudices is very often linked more to anonymous environments then to concrete situations of interpersonal encounter. However, they are very powerful and they seem to be the biggest problem of respondents who represent minority as well as majority groups. The data analyses is a work in a progress.
Avery, H. (2017).From Policy to Practice: Roma Education in Albania and Sweden. Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Barlow; Hornsey; Thai; Sengupta & Sibley (2013). The Wallpaper Effect: The Contact Hypothesis Fails for Minority Group Members Who Live in Areas with a High Proportion of Majority Group Members. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82228. Berry, J., W. (1997). Immigration, Acculturation, and Adaptation. Applied Psychology: An international review, 46, 5 – 68. Berry, J. W. (2001). A Psychology of Immigration. Journalof Social Issues, 57, 3, 615 – 631. Bikmena, N. & Sunarb, D. (2013). Difficult dialogs: Majority group members’ willingness to talk about inequality with different minority groups. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 37 (2013) 467– 476. Gkofa, P. (2017). Promoting Social Justice and Enhancing Educational Success: Suggestions from Twenty Educationally Successful Roma in Greece. Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Hammer, M., R., & Bennett, M., J., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The intercultural development inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 421 – 443. Kondakci, Y. (2017). Differentiated Function of School in Socio-culturally Disadvantaged Context: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study from Turkey. Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Levinson, M. (2017). When Participants don´t Wish to Participate in Participatory Action Research, and when Others Participate on their Behalf: The Representation of Communities by real and faux Participants. Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Molina, L.; Sidanius, J. and Phillips, N. L. (2015). National and Ethnic Identity in the Face of Discrimination: Ethnic Minority and Majority Perspectives. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 2, 225–236 Morávková, K. (2008). The Roma Population in Slovakia: The Study Case of the Intercultural Dialogue. Eurolimes. 2008, Vol. 6, p113-127. Moree, Vávrová, & Felcmanová (2017). Blue or red, why do categories attract? Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Setti, F. (2017). Long-lasting Fieldwork Ethnographic Restitution and „Engaged Anthropology“ in Romani Studies. Urban Review, 49, 498 – 509 DOI 10.1007/s11256-016-0396-3. Yanov D. & van der Hart M. (2013). People out of place: allochthony and autochthony in the Netherlands´ Identity discourse – metaphors and categories in action. Journal of International Relations and Development, 16, 227 – 261.
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