Political Participation and Interest Articulation of Roma in Romania

By McGarry, Aidan | Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE, January 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Political Participation and Interest Articulation of Roma in Romania


McGarry, Aidan, Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE


Abstract

By examining processes of political participation and ethnic mobilisation, this article assesses how Roma create organising structures of representation which they use to articulate their shared interests. The utilitarian nature of the democratic system necessarily excludes the voice of minorities who must create their own representation structures to ensure their voice is heard. This article analyses the ability of the Romani community in Romania to articulate interests and assesses the legitimacy of their organising structures of representation. This article starts from the observation that Roma constitute a sizeable minority group in Romania yet they remain under-represented in public life. Following a brief outline of how representation relates to legitimacy, the analysis proceeds in two steps: Firstly, the shared interests of Roma in Romania are determined; secondly, the role and purpose of the three organising structures of representation (elites, ethnic political parties, and civil society organizations) are assessed. The respective legitimacy of these organising structures of representation is analysed in turn.

Introduction

Romania houses a vibrant Romani1 community which has seized the opportunity to develop organising structures of representation since the collapse of communism.2 The state too has responded to the needs and interests of Roma who make up at least 3% of the Romanian population.3 The case study of Romania presents some interesting legislative innovations which are unique to this state and impact directly on how Roma mobilise and organise themselves politically, and articulate their interests through organising structures of representation. These include a guaranteed seat in parliament for all national minorities as well as the ability of minority non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to secure parliamentary representation. Despite mobilisation efforts and the creation of organising structures of representation, Roma remain woefully under-represented in political life (Roma have one Deputy out of 314 in the Chamber of Deputies- the lower house of the bicameral national parliament- despite a population between 3-10%). Clearly the right to vote has thus far not translated into adequate representation of Roma in the national assembly. This investigation asks 'who speaks for Roma in Romania?' and in doing so advances understandings into how Roma organise themselves in public life. Analytically this paper seeks to advance understandings of the complex relationship between identity, interests and organising structures of representation with regard to minorities, and empirically it details the case of Romani political participation in Romania.

The literature on the Romani community in Romania has been largely silent on issues of political participation and representation with a few notable exceptions4, and often cite the Romani community's sub-standard access to social provisions5. There have been several attempts to define who Roma actually are in the European political context6, as well as in Romania specifically through a historical perspective7. Furthermore, Roma rights theorists often provide emotive evidence when detailing Roma 'problems'8 and more recently there has been a concerted move towards understanding the political participation of Roma9. The political mobilisation of Roma is the most obvious response to the current situation of exclusion from democratic political processes10. Ethnic mobilisation has taken place in the past and has resulted in the establishment of organising structures of representation through which Roma can articulate their interests. However, mobilisation is not enough to overcome the numerous political problems that Roma are confronted with. It is by asking questions such as "who speaks for Roma?" that more informative research on modes of political participation has taken place, yet there have been no successful attempts to determine who legitimately represents Roma in Romania, nor who claims to. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Political Participation and Interest Articulation of Roma in Romania
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.