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"Roma in Europe: working paper"

Young, Jason R. (2006) "Roma in Europe: working paper". In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)

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    Europe is confronted by a painful paradox; while the idea of ‘Europe’ conceptualizes the European Union as a champion of liberal democracy, human rights and equality, the position of the Roma clashes with this vision. This paper looks at human rights and exclusion in Europe with specific emphasis on the Roma ethnic minority and argues that prevalent anti-Roma discrimination in both Western and Central-Eastern Europe holds larger ramifications than merely the Roma’s constant position of alien, or “despised outsider”. The power of discrimination, popular culture and opinion in marginalizing the Roma effectively limits their equal exercise of civil, political, and human rights. The Roma therefore represent tangible limits to the ideas intertwined with European integration. It is argued that the unwillingness to address the issue of Roma exclusion on the local level within specific countries possesses the effect of creating a two-tier citizenship regime that possess the capacity for unraveling the social and intellectual aims of the European Project. Social, legal, and actual exclusion of the Roma therefore holds significant ramifications for social policy within an enlarging EU. The paper presents popular depictions of the Roma and illustrates the pervasive power of exclusion by examining events such as the 1993 Czech citizenship law; the 1999 construction (and subsequent debate over the dismantling) of a wall around Roma apartments in the Czech town of Ústi nad Labem, widespread use of physical violence and intimidation to discourage Roma settlement and racism in Central and Eastern Europe. These events suggest that the pan-European “identity” is far from constructed and that systematic and fundamental change in attitudes and representations of the Roma is essential if the EU’s enlargement is to expand the protection of Human Rights on an equal footing throughout Europe. Combating historical representations constructed by social and political elites of the Roma as an other is of paramount importance if the Roma, and other ethnic minorities, are to be included as equal stakeholders in an enlarged Europe.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Central and Eastern Europe
    Countries > Czech Republic
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > social policy > discrimination/minorities
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > human rights
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: University of Pittsburgh, European Union Center of Excellence > 2006 (1st) Graduate Student Conference on the European Union
    Depositing User: Kostas Kourtikakis
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2006
    Page Range: p. 25
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:40

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