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Roma as a Unique Cultural Minority: the Impact of Communism and Democratisation on Roma in Eastern Europe

DANOVA, MILITSA,DANIELOVA (2011) Roma as a Unique Cultural Minority: the Impact of Communism and Democratisation on Roma in Eastern Europe. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines the socio-economic situation of Roma in three Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. It observes that the governments of these three countries, to varying degrees, have failed to develop effective policies for improving the marginal situation of the Roma minority. My hypothesis is that one of the key factors explaining this failure is the fact that ‘the dominant group – ethnic minority’ relations in these countries have been based on a liberal as opposed to a multicultural model.
An examination of the academic literature on accommodating ethnic minority rights reveals two main models that deal with the rights of minority cultures. The first, the liberal model, focuses on human rights and advances the idea that the best way to improve the quality of life of ethnic minorities would be to treat their members in the same way as the members of the dominant ethnic group. The second, the multicultural model, demands special protection of the culture of minority groups and views this as an essential precondition for improving the minority group’s socio-economic condition.
The thesis argues that both the policies of the Eastern European governments, as well as the monitoring mechanisms adopted by the international community are based on the liberal approach which promotes the implementation of human rights standards. These policies have not been successful which in turn casts doubt on the suitability of the liberal model as a solution to the problematic situation of the Roma in the three Eastern European countries studied here.
The thesis examines two other factors that explain the poor socio-economic status of Roma in Eastern Europe: the unique situation of the Roma minority as one lacking an external homeland that could support its minority abroad and the unique geo-political situation of these Eastern European countries whose other minorities do have external homelands and are seen as posing a security threat to the host countries. Thus the Roma suffer the twofold disadvantage of having no external protection and of being the target of the negative attitudes aimed at the other ethnic minority groups due to the perceived security threat to the territorial integrity of these states.
The analysis demonstrates that the Roma minorities in Hungary fare better than in Bulgaria and Romania due to the lack of the above mentioned security issues vis-à-vis other ethnic minorities.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD thesis
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 11:55

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