Roma Youth Mobilization in Spain. Public Policies, Supranational Agencies and Youth Identity Frames

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 12:30
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Anna MIRGA-KRUSZELNICKA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Balint-Abel BEREMENYI, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Silvia CARRASCO, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Since the early 90s, international agencies, public policies and Romani leaders increasingly acknowledged the need to invest in Roma youth explicitly, in order to mitigate the numerous deficits, challenges and problems faced by Romani youngsters. This led to the crystallization of “Roma youth” as a specific target group in domestic and international policies and programmes, far too often perceiving the youth as passive beneficiaries. However, the youth are “agents of change, not simple subjects to change” (Ginwright, Noguera, and Cammarota, 2006). Over time, and as universal youth-targeted policies and Roma-youth specific programmes began to bear its fruits, Roma youth gradually emerged as self-conscious stakeholders, demanding their place at the policy table and within the structures of Romani ethnic mobilization.  In Spain, Roma youth mobilisation is a highly fragmented analytical unit throughout a wide range of organisational structures and interest orientations.

While literature on ethnic mobilisations pays more attention to mobilizing structures (Doug McAdam et al., 1996) than to individual actors, our contribution aims to bring also this element into its focus. This paper will explore the interplay between public policies, programmes of supranational organisations and agencies, Romani rights recognition on the one hand, and Roma ethnic mobilization in Spain on the other, paying special attention to the individual trajectories of Spanish Roma youth within the mobilisation processes, and the impact of participating in ethnic mobilisation, in terms of shifting youth “identity frames” and of sociocultural change.

Data, used for the analysis, stem from two ongoing research projects, in which data collection was made through in-depth interviews and non-participatory observations. The main units of analysis included young Spanish Roma men and women as well as Spanish Roma and pro-Roma NGOs.