Stigmatisation and Identity in the Roma: A View from the “Outside” – The Case of Roma Pupils in the Settlement of Kozari Bok Cover Image

Stigmatizacija i identitet Roma – pogled »izvana«: slučaj učenika Roma u naselju Kozari Bok
Stigmatisation and Identity in the Roma: A View from the “Outside” – The Case of Roma Pupils in the Settlement of Kozari Bok

Author(s): Dragutin Babić
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Institut za migracije i narodnosti
Keywords: Roma; school; stigmatisation; identity; Kozari Bok

Summary/Abstract: The Roma are a marginal group in Croatian society, insufficiently “included” into various segments of the social structure. This paper analyses interviews carried out in the elementary school “Vinko Žganec” in Kozari Bok (in Zagreb). Eight (8) teachers of that school were interviewed, who teach classes in which there are pupils of Roma ethnicity. The socio-economic milieu and the cultural patterns in which young Roma are socialised differs notably from the dominant socio-cultural pattern, which further marginalises and “excludes” members of this ethnic group from the local community in which they reside, as well as from broader societal structures. For Roma pupils, besides these unfavourable factors in the milieu, a lack of knowledge or a poor knowledge of the Croatian language represents a further obstacle in the process of their integration into the school system. The stigmatisation of the Roma represents a segment of the socio-psychological atmosphere in Croatia, which generated and tolerated such a form of social interaction and in which such a type of approach was tolerated in circles representing dominant culture. Stigmatisation can be noticed also in schools, especially in conflictive situations in which the Roma are called Gypsies. This is also an attack on the Roma’s identity, about which Roma pupils are especially sensitive. The most difficult problem in the process of integrating the Roma is precisely the question of identity. In what way and to what degree should the Roma way of life be altered, as a precondition for assuring high-quality integration, without in the process threatening the group’s identity?

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 315-338
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Croatian