Roma Women’s Local Initiatives in Hungary: Driving Force for Community Participation and Empowerment

In: Populism, Memory and Minority Rights

Abstract

In this descriptive-analytical case study, we detail the work, potential, and challenges of local initiatives led by Roma women in Hungary, and examine the social conditions necessary for achieving their full potential. We assert that these initiatives represent “subaltern counterpublics,” operating parallel to the mainstream public sphere and providing opportunities for community discourse. Data was collected through focus-group discussions with representatives of these initiatives and with the use of demographic questionnaires. Fraser’s normative model of the public sphere and Habermas’ concept of civil society serve as the analytical framework through which the data was interpreted. The research indicates that, although these initiatives have been successful in providing fora where community members can voice their opinions and participate in a public arena, few have managed to establish meaningful dialogue with decision-makers outside of the community and with other members of the local power elite.

Populism, Memory and Minority Rights

Central and Eastern European Issues in Global Perspective

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