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Problems of Intellectual and Policial Accountability in Respect of Emerging European Roma Policy

Author(s): Martin Kovats

Journal: Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe
ISSN 1617-5247

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2001;
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Keywords: Roma | Europe | Culture | Discrimination

The paper argues that, at the European level, the situation of Roma minorities represent a new policy issue. However, over the 1990s the level of understanding of this issue became increasingly distorted, reflecting more the interests of mainstream institutions than those of Roma people and communities. In particular, the Roma issue has been increasingly defined in cultural terms, as a matter of discrimination, rather than identifying the causes of and effectively addressing the considerable objective problems faced by many Roma people such as poverty, unemployment, poor housing, health etc. The role of scholars should be to develop methods and theories to aid policy makers' understanding of the complex conditions affecting the highly diverse people covered by the concept of 'Roma'. To date this has not been achieved, partly due to the blurring of boundaries between scholarship and political activism.
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