Romani Studies

Performing the border of child labour: Roma working children

Romani Studies (2009), 19, (1), 19–48.

Abstract

The article explores the social, cultural and economical processes that lead Roma children into labour and their own interpretations of the value and risks of working. Based on qualitative research in several Roma communities in Romania the article analyses the different family strategies in coping with the economic difficulties of transition and the place of children in this process. The article is interested in the relationship between children and family, school and community and attempts to decipher what aspects in these relations encourage early entry into work. It argues that Roma children do occasional, poorly skilled, work that is relevant in their family economy, but invisible in and acceptable for broader society. Ultimately, the article argues that casting the situation of Roma working children in the framework of the child's right to work carries the risk of reproducing racial and class prejudices.

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Author details

Pantea, Maria-Carmen