Romani Studies

Romani political representation in Central Europe. An historical survey

Romani Studies (2002), 12, (2), 103–147.

Abstract

The article traces the historical development of the institutionalisation of formal external Romani representation and administration in Central Europe at the local, regional and national levels from the fifteenth century to the present day in order to elucidate both the continuity and the change in this process. It argues that although we can see positive progressive quantitative as well as qualitative changes in the process of institutionalising Romani representation, several obstacles remain. It suggests that the major impediments to achieving legitimate Romani representation derive from three main sources. First, the non-democratic selection of Romani representatives—a practice that has persisted in the majority of Central European countries in some form for centuries; second, the dependence of governmental recognition of Romani representation on the willingness of the Romani representatives to co-operate or even collaborate largely according to the terms of those governments (a practice in effect since the inter-war times); and third, the curtailment of the autonomy of Romani organisations through their dependence on public or donor funding since the inter-war times.

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Author details

Klímová, Ilona