From Victimhood to Citizenship – The Path of Roma Integration

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We would like to share with you information on a book titled ’From Victimhood to Citizenship – The Path of Roma Integration’, which can be buy in ebook format:

András Bíró – Nicolae Gheorghe –  Martin Kovats – edit. Will Guy
From Victimhood to Citizenship – The Path of Roma Integration
E- book:

Price €2,20

The information was received from Dalma Biro (Partners Hungary Foundation).

A debate on Roma integration


This book is intended as an invitation and a challenge to all concerned with the situation of  Roma to discuss crucial issues in order to clarify key concepts. In the process it does not shrink from probing sensitive issues such as the self-image of Roma people and questions the paths they should be following at a time when the EU Commission and the EU member states have been set the task of developing action plans for Roma inclusion. Ideally such critical reflection will lead to the formulation and adoption of more effective strategies for resolving the seemingly intractable problems hindering Roma integration at a time when pro-Roma EU policies are facing ever-growing threats.


This project, supported by the Freudenberg Foundation and the Open Society Foundations in Budapest and involving the Pakiv Reflection Group, evolved over a three-year period. The initial impetus came from the troubling reflections of András Bíró, prompted by the disappointing results of over two decades of activism in the supposedly more liberal climate of post-Communist democracy. He argues against the perpetuation of shmekeria (trickery), the conventional Roma strategy for self-preservation, in the changed contemporary political environment.


In response to these thoughts Nicolae Gheorghe likewise questions ‘traditional’ practices and values and demands a new culture, arguing: ‘For the first time in history, Roma have prospects of reflecting and playing an active part in bringing about social change. The role of Roma opinion-makers is to suggest new approaches, focusing on integration rather than on being victims.’ In conclusion he calls for a moratorium: no more payments from the EU before a new, more ethically grounded strategy has emerged.


Martin Kovats focuses on the politicisation of Roma identity arguing that the European discourse of ‘Roma’ cannot be understood as reflecting ‘Roma’ reality, but as a construction of the wider political environment. He advocates reflection on how ‘Roma’ use ethnic identity in their political activities (after all, national citizenship is a more powerful identity in terms of legal entitlement). Furthermore he urges activists to embrace other, non-ethnic, aspects of politics so they can forge effective political relations with non-Roma (without whom Roma politics is segregated and reflects and even contributes to the general marginalisation/segregation of ‘Roma’ people).


These three chapters form the core of the book but the goal of encouraging wider consideration was taken a step further by circulating these texts to activists and intellectuals, who were then invited to discuss them at a two-day workshop. An edited version of their exchanges forms the fourth chapter of the book, which is concluded by the Željko Jovanović’s vision of a possible way forward. While no straightforward solutions are offered the insights of the contributors and the lively ensuing conference arguments guarantee that this book will become a touchstone for future debate.


I you have any Qs re book and it context please do not hesitate to contact András Bíró