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  Intercultural and ethnic relations


    Institutional and social contexts of post-socialist ethnic orders

    In the last two decades, starting from the collapse of socialism, the organization of ethnocultural diversity has embarked on various paths. Both the state and representatives of national minorities put forward different versions of politics of recognition such as identity politics, benevolent multiculturalism, intercultural relation and politics of redistribution, all of them being advanced in the midst of more or less permissive but nevertheless nationalist projects. On the other hand, the form taken by social relations between members of different ethnocultural groups have been shaped by relatively autonomous processes in relation to elite projects. As a result, we are facing ambivalent configurations of ethnic orders that have mixed implications for ethnocultural diversity.

    Focusing on the study of ethnic orders, the main objective of the research direction is to identify, describe them, to understand how they work, and analyze their implications for ethnocultural diversity. Consequently, our analysis focuses on various dimensions of ethnic regimes including ethnic identity and identity politics, the organization of ethnocultural differences, models of integration/segregation/segmentation, expressive forms of identity, and intercultural practices. We approach these dimensions using various methodological and temporal perspectives and conduct qualitative (anthropological fieldwork) and quantitative (sociological surveys) studies.

    The analytical table, research agenda tackled by the team adapts to the tendencies visible in the international research field on the one hand and to social problems on national level on the other hand. Adaptation means adjusting conceptual frames (for example nuancing differences between multiculturalism and intercultural relations or between assimilation and inclusion) and including, next to fundamental research, applied studies (for example the analysis and evaluation of public policies regarding ethnicity or intercultural communication).


    Main activities

    In the research of politics of recognition we track identity politics from the standpoint of ethnic minority institutions on the one hand and the state administration on the other. The latter is manifest in public policies aimed at preservation of ethnic identity, multicultural dialog, and social integration of vulnerable groups. Using the former perspective, which takes the bottom-up approach in contrast with the top-down approach that sees diversity form the state's perspective, we conducted the research regarding Institutional system of national minorities. This research describes minority institutions, identity discourses and their implications on ethnic identity. In the domain of public policy we analyzed practices of Intercultural education in ethnically mixed schools in Romania and Roma inclusion policies regarding labor market inclusion. In the first research we described school teachers' attitudes toward intercultural education in and toward the institutional and symbolic status of intercultural education. In the research on Roma we analyzed the extent to which public policies respond to specific needs of targeted groups.

    Ethnocultural differences have constituted the object of several sociological surveys conducted on representative samples. The aim of these investigations (such as Hungarian young people in Romania: Comparative perspectives) is to identify the structural position of individuals belonging to various ethnic groups, to describe ethnicity as cultural habitus operationalized as values, practices, and attitudes, and to analyze the relation between the structural position of individuals on the one hand and similarities and differences in the cultural habitus of individuals belonging to majority and minority on the other hand.

    Several projects focuses on intercultural practices. The one entitled Cross-border practices in the Romanian-Ukrainian contact zone sought to identify everyday practices and institutional developments that responded or facilitated these practices in general and commercial relations in special. Linguistic landscape in bilingual schools in Romania - an ongoing project - seeks to document linguistic and iconic expression of cultural heterogeneity in ethnically mixed Romanian settlements. Bordering this line of study, the analysis of models of integration/segregation/segmentation seeks to understand ways in which members of various ethnic communities are incorporated in society. Two perspectives are implied: within the emic perspective of the social actors we document and analyze identity projects, perceptions and meanings of integration and separation. On the other hand we employ an etic perspective on integration/segregation/segmentation by the statistical analysis of access to goods and services such as cultural goods or jobs (for example, Cultural consumption in Romania).

    In the research entitled Commemoration and techniques of ceremonial and spatial organization of identity the object of analysis were commemoration events and public inscriptions. Through the research we documented and described the way local ethnic identities are formed in the context of more general national intentions since we examined relations between mechanisms of collective memories of ethnic groups and narratives of ethnic and national identifications.

    A quantitative synthesis of the work pursued within this research direction shows that results have materialized in working papers, research reports, conference volumes and edited volumes. Topics are debated in several workshops, round table discussion organized at the institute or elsewhere.


    Research organization and human resources

    In terms of human resource, the borders of the group are porous, meaning that there are many researchers who are involved in one research or another while they are also working in other research groups. Research projects are coordinated by members of the institute or they are invited from other research institutes. Collaborators are also invited as researchers or coordinators. Members of the team have been invited as researchers or experts in various projects run by other research institutes or NGO's.




    Spaces of remembrance, practices of memory and remembrance in the case of national minorities

    Responsible for the project: Jakab Albert Zsolt

    The research objective has been to study the formation of local identities in Cluj-Napoca under or against nationalist discourses and aspirations. At the same time, focus has been laid on the manifestation of local national identities in the frame of public events, on narratives and narrative constructions, and on nationalist discourses according to which the collective memory of ethnic groups is being structured and functioning.

    The analysis of identities, of collective memory formations and of public comemorations in Cluj-Napoca is based on observing the following comemorations: 15 March 1848; 6 October 1849; the anniversary of Mihai Eminescu (15 January), the anniversary of Baba Novac (5 February), unveiling the statue of Márton Áron (28 February), the anniversary of the union of Bessarabia with Romania (27 March), the Day of the National Anthem (27 July), the anniversary of the Vienna Decision (30 August), and the liberation of Cluj-Napoca (11 October).




    Jakab, Albert Zsolt: Organizarea memoriei collective în Cluj-Napoca după 1989/ The Organization of Collective Memory by Romanians and Hungarians in Cluj-Napoca after 1989. Editura ISPMN, Working papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 23, 2009.

    Jakab Albert Zsolt: Emlékállítás és emlékezési gyakorlat. A kulturális emlékezet reprezentációi Kolozsváron, Editura Asociaţiei Etnografice Kriza János - Editura Institutului pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităţilor Naţionale, Cluj-Napoca, 2012.


    Please inquire about the research materials and results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Places and spaces of national identity among the national minorities from Romania

    Fieldwork location: Transylvania

    Research project coordinator: Albert Zsolt JAKAB

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Attila GIDÓ, Elena-Iulia HOSSU, Lehel PETI, etc.

    Research topic: research and analysis of places and spaces of national identity among the national minorities from Transylvania,  Romania

    Research objectives:

    • to create a database with the following categories: memorial trees, memorial plates, statues and busts, public monuments, obelisks, cenotaphs, memorial cemeteries
    • to examine commemorative practices related to the above
    • research questions:
      • how do national minorities organize and make use of memorial spaces and what kind of symbolic or practical relationships do they have with the past?
      • When, in what political or social context does a minority turn to its collective past, and what kind of events, attitudes and narratives are represented when erecting monuments?
      • what kind of past is represented and how is collective/cultural memory spatialized, what are the commemorative strategies of the minorities and how do they use history? What are the effects of these processes?
      • which are the collective gestures, practices and rituals related to these places of  memory and identity, and when do commemorative events take place?

    Research components:

    • Identifying and contacting informants (local historians and intellectuals)
    • Selecting representative localities and regions
    • Thematic selection focusing on commemorative places and spaces ("lieux de mémoire")
    • Collecting the relevant literature in the field (monographs, case studies, brochures, etc.)
    • Studying similar databases of mayor's offices, NGO's, research and cultural institutions
    • Drawing up questionnaires, factsheets and creating a database
    • Drawing up case studies



    Jakab Albert Zsolt: Ez a kő tétetett... Az emlékezet helyei Kolozsváron (1440-2012). Adattár, Editura Asociaţiei Etnografice Kriza János - Editura Institutului pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităţilor Naţionale, Cluj-Napoca, 2012.

    Please inquire about the research results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Ethnicity and economy 

    Project coordinator: Csongor Könczei

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Gyula Kozák; Lehel Peti

    External researchers participating in the project: Mihály Sárkány, PhD (anthropologist, the Ethnographical Institute of The Hungarian Academy of Sciences) and Enikő Vincze, PhD (professor at Babeş-Bolyai University).

    Research topic:  ethnicity and economy

    Research objectives: organize a conference and write a workingpaper on the topic




    The scientitic session entitled Az etnicitás és a gazdaság kapcsolatai [The relations between ethnicity and economy] was organized at the Institute on 20 October 2011. The invited speakers held the following presentations: Etnicitás és gazdaság (Ethnicity and economy, by Mihály Sárkány, anthropologist at the Ethnographical Institute of The Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Társadalmi kizárás és etnicitás (Social exclusion and ethnicity, by Enikő Vincze, professor at Babeş-Bolyai University); A romák munkaerő-piaci helyzetéről (The situation of the Roma on the labour market, by  Gyula Kozák, researcher at RIRNM) and Gazdasági átalakulás és interetnikus viszonyok egy Kis-Küküllő menti településen (Economic change and ethnic relations in a settlement from Târnava Mica valley, by Lehel Peti, researcher at RIRNM). The discussion following the presentations were moderated by Csongor Könczei.


    Etnicitate şi economie, wp nr. 47




    Transborder practices between Romania and Ukraine in Suceava county 

    Responsible for the research: Remus Gabriel Anghel

    Research objective:

    The field research attempted to explore and identify transborder practices between Romania and Ukraine.


    The reseach in border areas reveal their buffer zone status, where identities and social practices intermingle. Similar to small commerce and ethnic heterogeneity, going for shopping in the neighbouring country has become an urban practice. However, research on border areas from the point of view of interethnic relations is still in pioneering stage.

    Given this context we have intended to study  the way how ethnicity and bilingualism function by enabling trade and transborder practices. So far we have identified the following main practices: a certain variation of small trade in the course of different periods to adapt to the people's needs during the economic fall in the nineties; mixed marriages between Romanians and Ukrainians; „going for shopping in Ukraine". In recent years also some institutional developments have been intoduced especially because of the European Union enlargement and of the funds offered by the EU for the border zones and its neighbouring states.



    Please inquire about the research materials and results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Intercultural education in ethnically mixed schools 

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Stefánia Toma, Gyula Kozák

    Description: the objectives of the research project initiated by the "Împreună" Agency for Community Development was to describe both the teachers' attitudes toward intercultural education, and namely knowledge, perceptions, and behavior, and the general institutional and symbolic status of  intercultural education in ethnically mixed schools. At the same time, the study proposed both to highlight the impact of some teacher training courses and programs in the field and to identify the training needs of teachers. The analysis has been based on a field research carried out in May - June 2010 in seven ethnically mixed school units (i.e. which included Romanian, Hungarian and Roma pupils in varying percentages). Beside the problematic issues identified in the course of evaluating the research, the research team proposed to emphasize also positive practices in the field of intercultural education. 



    Please inquire about the research materials and results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Intercultural practices in ethnically mixed schools 

    Fieldwork locations:  towns in Transylvania

    Research period: February  - October 2012

    Research project coordinator: István Horváth

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Ilka Veres, Gyula Kozák

    Research topic: institutional management practices of ethnic  diversity

    Research objectives:

    The main objective of the exploratory research is to identify and describe linguistic practices in ethnically mixed schools, and specifically forms and types of linguistic representation of ethnicity in culturally heterogeneous spaces. Supposing that ethnic relations are expressed and negotiated through various institutional practices (see for e.g. spatial expressions of identity, textual and iconic symbols and signs of ethnicity  etc.), the research will start from the hypothesis that there are some forms of management concerning multiculturalism, cultural heterogeneity and cultural sensibilities, which, especially from  the perspective of honor and prestige, are linked to the domination of the social space. The research will ask how ethnic balance is maintained in institutions where diversity is both assumed and considered fundamental.


    The research project will start with a pilot study in which we will identify dimensions of linguistic representation in various spaces of ethnically mixed schools. The pilot study will allow to observe various forms of linguistic signs (inscription, publicity, etc.) within the examined schools and to develop a survey tool to collect data. Th research tool or instrument will be a standard one so as to be applicable in each educational unit selected for the study.  In fact we will draw a separate factsheet for each institution which will include all the linguistic manifestations of the given institution. The factsheets will be completed according to the field operators' observations. Depending on the number of localities and schools selected for the study, the project will require  ten to twenty field operators.



    Please inquire about the research materials and results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Cultural consumption of the Hungarians in Transylvania in comparative perspective 

    Research project coordinator: Tamás Kiss

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Barna Gergő

    Project objectives: to publish volumes of studies (in English, Hungarian and Romanian languages) based on the results of the concerning surveys completed by the Institute and the Centre for Research and Consultancy on Culture (CRCC) in 2010-2011.



    Please inquire about the research materials and results (SPSS database, research report and ppt presentations) by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Ethnobarometer 2012

    Research period: January - June 2012

    Research project coordinator: István Horváth

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Tamás Kiss, Ilka Veress, István Gergő Székely

    External researchers: Gergő Barna, Marius Lazăr, Irina Culic (Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work)

    Research topics: interethnic relations and political culture in Romania

    Research objectives:

    Th research project has the following two main objectives: 

    1)      to examine ethnic identification processes, interethnic relations, and tolerance toward other ethnicities 

    2)      to find differences between the political culture and citizenship participation of the two populations in the survey (the adult population of Romania and the Hungarian population of Romania)

    Description: the research project is based on previous surveys in the field

    1)      A number of 7 country-level surveys on interethnic relations carried  out between 1997 - 2009 by the Research Center for Interethnic Relations (CCRIT), Metro Media Transilvania and the IMAS market and social  research companies. The surveys completed in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) were representative for both the Romanian and the Hungarian population, while those carried out in 2001, 2002 and 2009 by Metro Media Transilvania and IMAS were representative for the Romanian and the Roma population of the country. We should add that the 2001 and 2002 surveys of Metro Media Transilvania are the only ones which can be considered as being simultaneously representative of the  Hungarian, Romanian and Roma  populations of Romania.

    2)      With regard to participation and political culture, the present project is connected to a wider research on the electoral and political behaviour of Romanian minorities initiated by the Institute in 2011


    The project will consist of the following:

    -         preparing the sociological survey (drawing up the questionnaire and the sample, and preparing the survey materials for the field operators)

    -         carrying out the survey (i.e. coordinating the work of the field  operators) and introducing the collected data in SPSS

    -         processing the data and drawing up the research report


    The survey was carried out in April 2012 on the representative samples (1200 Hungarian persons from Transylvania and 1600 Romanian persons from Romania).



    Please inquire about the research materials and results by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Social Cohesion and Inter-ethnic Climate in Romania - November 2008

    Research period: November 2008

    Description: a national representative survey on the interethnic climate in Romania in order 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.





    Sólyom Zsuzsa: Coeziunea socială şi climat interetnic în România, octombrie-noiembrie 2008. Editura ISPMN, Studii de atelier. Cercetarea minorităţilor naţionale din România, nr.31, 2010. Download


    To access the database click here




    The Hungarian youth from Romania 2008. Comparative dimensions, social condition, Hungarian youth's expectancies (2008-2010, completed research project)

    Responsible for the project: Tamás Kiss

    This research was realized by the RIRNM by the initiative of the National Authority of the Young (Autoritatea Naţională pentru tineret). Population investigated was made up by the Hungarian youth coming from 16 counties of the Romanian regions (Middle, North-West and North), all aged between 18 and 35.

    Sociological survey for the research was made in September 2008 on a bi-stadial, stratified, probabilistic sample made of by 1202 persons. Antecedents for this survey were:

    -     June-July 2008 the National Agency for Supporting Initiatives of the Young (Agenţia Naţională pentru Sprijinirea Iniţiativelor Tinerilor, ANSIT) made a survey on a national sample of 1205 persons (ANSIT 2008)

    -     in November 2001 the Hungarian National Institute for Researching the Young initiated a survey representative for Hungarian, Slovakian, Serbian and Ukrainian youngsters under the name of MOZAIK 2001

    Sampling methods for the present research were identical with those used in ANSIT 2008 and MOZAIK 2001, making possible data comparison of all the three projects.

    Aspects followed in the research were:

    -     life qualities, social condition

    -     educational system, workplace

    -     migration experience and migration potential

    -     linguistic competence

    -     family and gender roles

    -     spare/leisure time, cultural consume 

    -     political participation

    -     problems

    -     internet access

    -     virtues



    Research results were presented in the 30th of November 2008 on a press conference organized by RIRNM.


    Kiss, Tamás - Barna, Gergő (eds.): Erdélyi magyar fiatalok. Összehasonlító elemzés [T he Hungarian youth from Transylvania. Comparative dimensions]. Editura ISPMN- Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, 2011.

    Kiss, Tamás - Barna, Gergő - Kozák, Gyula (eds.): Tinerii maghiari din România. Dimensiuni comparative [The Hungarian youth from Transylvania. Comparative dimensions]. Editura ISPMN- Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, 2011.

    Kiss, Tamás - Barna, Gergő - Sólyom, Zsuzsa: Erdélyi magyar fiatalok 2008. Közvélemény-kutatás az erdélyi magyar fiatalok társadalmi helyzetéről és elvárásairól. Összehasonlító gyorsjelentés [The Hungarian youth from Transylvania in 2008. A public opinion survey about the social position and expectations of the Hungarian youth from Transylvania]. Editura ISPMN, Working papers in Romanian Minority Studies, no. 12, 2008.




    Family values in Harghita County. Representative sociological survey 

    Research coordinators: Tamás Kiss and Gergő Barna



    Please inquire about the research materials and results (SPSS database, research report in hungarian language) by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro.




    Diszkriminacio ?? Közélet és közérzet Erdélyben

    Responsible for the project: Kiss Tamás, Barna Gergő   



    Please inquire about the research materials and results (SPSS database, research report in romanian and hungarian language)by sending an e-mail to centru.doc@ispmn.gov.ro




    National minority institutional cadastre

    RIRNM researchers participating in the project: Hossu Iulia, Plainer Zsuzsa, Toma Stefánia, Vitos Katalin

    External researcher: Kiss Dénes, Phd (Babeş-Bolyai University)

    Project objectives:  to develop and update a database including the institutions of the following national minorities from Romania: Albanians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Jews, Germans, Greeks, Italians, Macedonians, Hungarians, Poles, Roma, Lipovan Russians, Ruthenians, Serbs, Tatars, Turks and Ukrainians

    The project aims at registering the institutional systems of national minorities from Romania and at creating an online database which would provide general, easily accessible information for contacting the minority organizations and their leaders. We hope that such a database will serve as proper environment for developing interethnic relations among the minorities living in Romania. At the same time we intend to contribute to developing a common data content which would not only make visible these organizations of public/social interest, but also enable the best possible communication among specialists interested in national minorities issues and in communities represented by the organizations listed.

    The database of national minority organizations is continually developed, so we kindly ask the representatives of the national minorities to contact us in order to update and/or modify the relevant information available at this moment about the minorities which they represent.




    Minority organisations (ro)



    Kiss Dénes - The minority institutional system from Romania - working paper nr.34 (ro)

    Kiss Dénes - Romániai magyar nonprofit szervezetek - 2009 - 2010. A szervezetek adatbázisának bemutatása és a nonprofit szektor szociológiai elemzése