Dissertation Abstracts

The Participation of the Roma Immigrants in Spain: On the Path for Their Social Inclusion

Author: Aiello, Emilia , emilia.aiello@uab.cat
Department: Sociology
University: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Supervisor: Teresa Sordé & Carlota Solé
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Roma immigrants , social inclusion , associations , participation
Areas of Research: Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management , Organization , Migration


In the last decade, the number of Roma immigrant who have arrived to Spain has increased and although the most visible ones are those migrants living under precarious living conditions, there is very little scientific approximations to this group. Therefore, more research needs to be done to shed light on this group, very often overshadow by anti-Gypsyism.

In Europe at large, but also in Spain, the Roma immigrants suffer from racism and discrimination for two reasons: for being Roma and for being immigrant. Thus, this is a vulnerable group whose voices and demands should be urgently channeled in order to achieve their social integration, improve their living conditions, and further prevent social conflict. There have been attempts to politically self-organize the Roma immigrant community and create Roma immigrant people's associations. These initiatives have coexisted with the participation in already existing Roma associations or migrant ones. At the moment, even though the Roma immigrant people are not highly organized, some of them do participate in the already constituted Roma associations in Spain and there have been some scattered cases of the Roma immigrant own-founded associations. Drawing on this, in this dissertation, I analyse the ways in which the Roma associations in Spain are including the Roma immigrant people within their own membership or organizational structures and thus, how this contributes to their social integration and to fostering social cohesion.
After a thorough revision of scientific literature this dissertation is built upon three main hypothesis:

1. Those Roma associations in Spain that are including Roma immigrants in their constituencies do so because, among other reasons, they are embracing diversity (in terms of national and ethnic origin, educational level and age) among their membership, which promotes the participation of the Roma immigrant people.
2. Those Roma associations in Spain that are including Roma immigrants in their constituencies do so, among other reasons, because of their democratic internal structure which ensures that the Roma voice is at the center of all decision-making processes.
3. Those Roma associations in Spain which are including Roma immigrants in their constituencies do so because, among other reasons, they have built alliances with non-Roma people.

The present research will be carried out using the case study as a research method. According to this method, a set of criteria has been established in order to identify the case studies on which the dissertation will focus. The studied Roma associations must meet the following characteristics: (1) Roma immigrants do participate in them; (2) they are contributing to achieve the social integration of the Roma, (3) including the immigrants; (3) prestige (social trust); (4) territories: (5) geographical diversity; (6) they represent the Roma rights movement in Spain. Three Roma associations which meet these criteria and at the time are widely different among them have been selected to be studied: a Roma association of women; a Roma association in which non-Roma people participate; and a Romanian Roma association.

(**) The methodological design of the dissertation is under construction.

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