Roma Exclusion: Education as a Domain of the Racialization of Poverty

Course Description: 

This course will provide insights into the main structural factors and currents in local communities that make  Roma poverty different from the similar state of non-Roma through processes of racialization. For this purpose, the course will offer an introduction to the concepts and the methodology of understanding different manifestations of poverty partly through familial interviews and partly through analyzing representations of the problem in films and documentaries. This endeavor will serve to show how segregation and exclusion (in schools, housing and work) endow Roma poverty with certain particular traits and how these manifestation of ethnic separation also facilitate its enclosure into the institutionalized arrangements of separated physical and mental spaces.  In the next step, Roma poverty will be viewed through the lenses of influential representatives of the non-Roma majority. After preparing the methodology and discussing certain typical dilemmas of encounters with institutional representatives, local decision-makers, school principals, teachers and social workers will be interviewed about their experiences when working with Roma and non-Roma poor, and also their views and explanations of segregation vs. color-blind integration and inclusion will be explored. Additionally, these institutional interviews will serve to reveal the play of broader interests behind ethnic separation that will lead us to understand Roma exclusion in the contexts of power and representation. In order to see these associations in their empirical manifestations, attempts will be made to invite a group of parents of the local schools to listen to their arguments in favor/against ethnic segregation. In the last phase of the course, the collected field-material will be processed in class with the aim to put together the different sides of the prism and this way getting closer to the understanding of Roma poverty and exclusion as deeply ingrained into the social struggles around insecurities in attaining, maintaining and protecting the positions of the shaken middle class.

Although students are welcome to register for this course on its own, attending the preceding course on “Sociological Approaches of Race and Ethnicity: The Roma in Postcommunist Central Europe” will render the advantage of a deeper understanding of the theories of poverty and racialization.

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