Serena Romano

From «forced» social inclusion to constructed marginality. Roma in postsocialist Europe between inclusion and exclusion

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Roma; Social Inclusion; Socialism; Social Separation; Constructed Marginality.

Roma are the most vulnerable and marginal minority in Europe. Although their inclusion in our societies is one of the most debated issues of public concern in the political arena and in the scientific community, the persistence of their condition of marginality is a common characteristic in most European nations. Drawing on the distinction between «integration» policies and measures designed to effectively promote a full social inclusion (and on the potential different impact of the two approaches) of immigrants and minorities, the present essay introduces the main themes of this special issue of «Autonomie locali e servizi sociali». More specifically, it looks at the existing condition of marginality that characterises Roma people as persistent outsiders in Central-Eastern Europe as a product of past and present strategies of assimilation, inclusion and integration and their specific ambivalent roles. The article examines the shift from a strategy of «forced social inclusion », accomplished during socialism, to the new phase of «constructed» marginality, social exclusion and inequality, produced by the ambivalent approach used to include Roma people today. Framed around controlling and disciplining intents, the socialist strategy of forced social inclusion for Roma was predominantly put in place in the areas of education, labour market and residential settlement. However, it is argued in the article, the socialist model of integration for Roma people and its segregating dimension can be put on a continuity line with the current approach to Roma inclusion in many countries, especially in terms of the transposition of that strategy into new practises of social separation of this group. This perspective provides new insights that may help understand the origins and causes of Roma marginality in our society and the persistent character of this condition.

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