Social Policy Analysis on Roma: Promoting Participation and Encouraging ‘Good Practice’

Project in brief

Research questions

  • How have EU policy interventions addressed the needs and interests of Roma communities across Europe?
  • How do Roma communities participate in the policymaking process?
  • Are Roma included in policy formulation, implementation or evaluation processes?

Background and rationale

Roma people are Europe’s largest ethnic minority and number 10-12 million. Many Roma in the EU are victims of prejudice and social marginalisation and are excluded from policy making processes (Tremlett 2017; McGarry 2012). In 2012, the European Commission demanded each member state produce a Roma strategy and monitoring of this activity continues each year until 2020.

The 28 national social and economic strategies require in-depth analysis and assessment to determine how policy interventions on Roma can address the fundamental issues facing Roma communities such as poverty, health, education, housing and employment. Analyses on Roma policy have failed to get to grips with how the voice of Roma is heard and what constitutes Roma participation in policymaking (McGarry 2017). A further step will be to interrogate the concept of participation (Barnes et al 2008) to explore how Roma people and Roma voices are included into the policymaking processes from formulation to implementation and monitoring/evaluation. This will include consideration of e-participation, civil society consultation, lobbying as well as activism to facilitate participation.

The project will critically engage with issues regarding positive discrimination and group preferential treatment for historically marginalised communities. This research will proceed in three stages:

First, a thematic analysis of each national strategy and evaluate reports will identify key issues and policy approaches across the EU on Roma issues, including where participation is identified as a key principle informing the policy. The thematic analysis will lead to a critical understanding of policy participation, minority voices, ethnicity, discrimination, and social and economic inclusion. Second, an online qualitative survey of national and transnational NGOs (approximately 100) will explore how participation is understood by Roma civil society and activists as well as determine success and failure of EU and national policy interventions. Third, based on the survey, four examples of ‘good practice’ from across Europe will be identified, evaluated and compared using interviews (approximately 12) with key informants including activists, policy makers and Roma NGOs.

Student Skills Requirements:

Essential: The candidate will have policy analysis skills and have excellent communication skills. The candidate would need to come from a social science qualitative research background and have an interest in inequality/minority groups.

Desirable: Experience of conducting interviews and surveys.

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