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The main activity domains of the Romani Studies research team are defined by the RIRNM institutional strategy for research on Roma issues (2008-2012) (ro)  . The strategy defines two main directions of activity for the Romani studies research group. First of all, in the context of growing sensibility regarding the implementation of different programs targeting Roma communities and the efficiency of these measures (see the new national strategies for the inclusion of Roma) it was formulated on European level that there is a strong need of evidence-based public policies. Then, new approaches are needed not only in the domain of the public policies, but on theoretical level as well. The process of identity construction of the Roma, the economic activities (including migration), the formation of large pauperized communities (named also "underclass") opened space for an international debate on the conceptual framework in which social processes related to the Roma minority are discussed. Hence, the Romani studies research team has a wide range of activities concerning Roma issues: developing research projects, creating a meta-data base, organizing and participating in diverse scientific events, contributing to the development of public policies related to Roma issues in Romania and engaging in dissemination of the results of research activities.

 

        Objectives

  • Initiating projects both in fundamental research (theoretical and methodological) and applied investigations. The projects address the socio-economic conditions of different Roma communities, relations and interactions between Roma and non-Roma, political and institutional representation of Roma communities, the educational situation of Roma, the demographic dynamics of the Roma population, migration and integration of Roma in Europe, the Roma related policies of various churches in Romania, forms and elements of identity construction.
  • Research and analysis of public policies related to Roma. By doing this we try to provide knowledge for agencies involved in various stages of policy making (planning, implementation and evaluation) regarding Roma. (For example some of the researchers are members of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies - www.coe.int/romastudies -which aims at raising the visibility of existing research on Roma in Europe and foster cooperation with policymakers by providing evidence for better conceived policy initiatives.)
  • Participating and organizing scientific events, creating partnerships and participating in networks with major international actors in Romani studies and implementing institutions. (For example: Two Decades of Scholarship: Romani Studies in Romania (1989 - 2009) - International Conference organized by the RIRNM with the participation of leading international and national researchers and young scholars. The proceedings of this conference were published by the RIRNM in the volume entitled: Spectrum. Social Research on Roma.)
  • Dissemination and visibility of recent research results by creating accessible data-bases on different topics and by publishing articles, studies and working papers on relevant issues written by the researchers of the RIRNM, but also by attracting other established researchers and scholars from other Romanian institutes and from abroad. (For example: Romani Communities in Romania. A Cross-Disciplinary Approach - International Conference organized by the RIRNM in collaboration with Manchester University, Romani Linguistics and Romani Language Projects. Proceedings of this conference were published in 2011 in the journal of the Gypsy Lore Society Romani Studies.)
  • Involvement in educational programs at different departments of the Babeş-Bolyai University and other institutions. (For example:  "Come Closer" Summer University and photo exihibiton - international summer univeristy organized by the RIRNM in collaboration with the Central European University - SUN (Hungary), Resource Center for Roma Communities (Romania), Tranzit Foundation (Romania) and Babeş-Bolyai University (Romania). During the Summer University was also launched the itinerant exhibition (Cluj, Bucureşti, Torino) of the photos realised in the framework of the Phare 2004 Project Inclusion and Exclusion of Roma in Present-Day Romania.)

 

Main activities 

In order to achieve our objectives we develope a wide range of activities. The core of our activity is represented by research, nevertheless, by capitalizing our research results we hope to contribute to the achievement of other objectives too. First of all, our research activities aim to offer a general analysis of the existing situation of Roma communities. We also elaborate more focused research projects and case studies, which are meant to highlight some specific aspects of the general researches. Finally, by our participation and presence on the scientific and public scene, we contribute to the dissemination of our research results to the wider public and policy actors.

Our research projects - using different methods (survey, interviews, primary and secondary data analysis, and discourse analysis) - address the socio-economic condition of Roma communities in different contexts of social life. We can mention here, for instance, a questionnaire-based research Models of Ethnic Segregation in Romania - Roma Ethnic Ghettoes. The aim of the project was to describe ethnic segregation processes perceived by the representatives of local institutions - the mayor's office­ - that have direct experience with implementing programs for the Roma. Our research makes possible to identify the "good practices", as well as certain unwanted effects of the employed policy measures.

Another relevant project in this field is Actors, Roles and Perceptions of Romani Language Teaching in Romania realised in cooperation with representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Education. The rationale of this project was the following: maintaining and using the Romani language was among the priorities of post-socialist minority politics, and certain steps were made to preserve and revitalize Roma culture and identity. With this project we intended to scrutinize the institutional contexts and the practices of teaching the Romani language.

Given that the Roma minority in Romania is considered to be the most marginalized and discriminated against, it is also important to know about the attitudes and perceptionsof the majority society about the Roma. Here we can mention the Social Cohesion and Inter-ethnic Climate in Romania - November 2008, a national representative survey on the interethnic climate in Romania. The survey was designed in a way to be able to evaluate the general inter-ethnic relations, to describe the dynamics of interethnic relations, the self-perceptions and hetero-perceptions of the most numerous ethnic groups in Romania, and last but not least, to evaluate the level of knowledge on intolerance and discrimination.

The above mentioned projects offer a large-scale image of the situation of Roma communities in Romania and their representation among the majority population, which inevitably implies some level of generalization. In order counterbalance this, we also developed small-scale community studies - using mainly qualitative research methods - in order to gain both emic and etic accounts on the studied communities, processes and interrelations.  In this sense, we have a series of qualitative researches on the survival strategies of the Roma in Transylvania, on the social and cultural networks of Roma musicians, on the social and economic factors of ethnic conflicts in Szeklerland, on segregation and integration in education, religious revitalization of the Roma communities, and so on.

The results of our projects are continuously presented at various international and national conferences, published in volumes, journals, working papers and on the institute's web-site (edited by leading internatioanl publishing houses, but also by the recently accredited publishing house of the RIRNM). The visibility of the research results is also assured through  ISI quotations, organizing international conferences, summer universities, workshops, participating in professional networks, membership in international research projects and inviting senior international researchers to our institute.

 

Publications in the field

Toma, Stefania: Segregation and Ethnic Conflicts in Romania - Getting Beyond the "Last Drop" Model. In: Michael Stewart (ed.): The Gypsy Menace. Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics. Second edition. Columbia University Press, 2012.

Toma, Stefánia - Fosztó, László (eds): Spectrum. Cercetări sociale despre romi [Spectrum. Social research about the Roma].  Editura ISPMN- Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, 2011.

Fosztó, László:  Hol a helye a romáknak az erdélyi egyházakban? Vallási intézmények és társadalmi integráció. [Where is the place for the Roma? Religious institutions and social integration]. In Pro Minoritate, no. 3, 2011, 113-122.

Kozák, Gyula: Szempontok a romániai romák foglalkoztatottságának kutatásához [Perspectives for analyzing the occupational structure of Romanies in Romania ]. In Pro Minoritate, 2011, no. 3, 105-112.

Toma, Stefánia: A túlcsordult teli pohár és az etnikai konfliktusok esete Romániában [The case of the overflown glass and the interethnic conflicts in Romania]. In Pro Minoritate, no. 3, 2011, 123-143.

Plainer, Zsuzsa: What to give in return? Suspicion in a Roma shantytown from Romania. Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 41, 2011.

Fosztó, László: Mobilising "culture" and "religion". Ritual practices and social relations among two minority groups in rural Transylvania. In Sociologie Românească, no. 1, 2010, 132-145.

Fosztó, László - Kiss, Dénes: Pentecostalism in Romania: The Impact of Pentecostal Communities on the Life-style of the Members. In La Rivista Folklorica special issue: "La sfida del Pentecostalismo" ("The Challenge of Pentecostalism"), 2010.

Plainer, Zsuzsa: Második esély-e a Második esély? - egy alkalmazott antropológiai kutatás részeredményei [Is the Second Chance Really a Second Chance? Partial results of an applied anthropological research]. In Néprajzi Látóhatár,  no. 2, 2010, 30-43.

Peti, Lehel: Adaptálódás és szegregáció. A kulturális különbségek kommunikálása a cigány-magyar együttélésben egy Kis-Küküllő menti településen [Adaptation and segregation. Communicating cultural differences within Roma and Hungarian Cohabitation in a Locality from Târnava Mică Valley]. In Deáky Zita - Nagy Pál (eds.): A cigány kultúra történeti és néprajzi kutatása a Kárpát-medencében. Magyar Néprajzi Társaság - Szent István Egyetem, Gazdaság- és Társadalomtudományi kar, Budapest, Gödöllő, 2010, 195-213.

Marin, Timeea Elena: "We are Gypsies, not Roma!" Ethnic Identity Constructions and Ethnic Stereotypes - an example from a Gypsy Community in Central Romania. Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 36, 2010.

Popescu, Livia - Raţ, Cristina - Rebeleanu, Adina: „Nu se face discriminare!" ... doar accesul este inegal. Dificultăţi în utilizarea serviciilor de sănătate de către populaţia romă din România [„No discrimination!" Just unequal access...Barriers in the use of health-care services among the Romanian Roma]. Editura ISPMN, Working papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 29, 2010.

Sarău, Gheorghe: Bibliografie selectivă privind rromii (1990-2009) [A selected bibliography about the Roma: the period between 1990-2009]. Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies , no. 28, 2010.

Fosztó, László:  Ritual Revitalisation after Socialism: Community, Personhood, and Conversion among the Roma in a Transylvanian Village. LIT Verlag, Münster, 2009.

Fosztó, László: Colecţie de studii despre romii din România [Collection of studies about the Roma from Romania]. Editura ISPMN- Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, 2009.

Kiss, Tamás - Fosztó László - Fleck Gábor (eds.): Incluziune şi excluziune. Studii de caz asupra comunităţilor de romi din România [lnclusion and exclusion. Case studies about Roma communities from Romania]. Editura ISPMN- Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, 2009.

Fosztó, László: Viták és irányzatok a roma-kutatásban: vázlat közpolitikák kidolgozásához [Debates and trends in Romani Studies: a sketch for elaborating public policies]. In Korunk, no. 5, 2009, 22-30.

Fosztó, László: De la practici de integrare la o filozofie a integrării romilor [From integration practices toward the philosophy of Roma integration ]. In Sfera Politicii,  no. 8., 2009, 69-73.

Plainer, Zsuzsa: Three Roma Communities from Byron - a fragmented ethnography. In Studia Europea, 2009, no. 4, 157-185.

Hossu, Iulia: Strategii de supravieţuire într-o comunitate de romi. Studiu de caz. Comunitatea „Digului", Orăştie, judeţul Hunedoara [Survival strategies within a  Roma community. A case study about the Roma from Digului, Orăştie, Hunedoara county]. Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 19, 2009.

Fosztó, László: Conversion narratives, sincere hearts, and other tangible signs: communicating religious change among the Transylvanian Roma. In Transitions, vol. 48-2, 2008, 109-132.

Toma, Stefánia: Roma/Gypsies and Education in a Multiethnic Community in Romania.  Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no 6., 2008.

Fosztó, László: Bibliografie cu studiile şi reprezentările despre romii din România - cu accentul pe perioada 1990-2007 [A bibliography of studies and representations about the Roma from Romania, with a special focus on the period between 1990-2007]. Editura ISPMN, Working Papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 3, 2008.