From Emancipation to Social Work? a Dialogue Between Frames and Discursive Field of Pro-Roma Activists in the Czech Republic after 1989

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Martin KOUBEK, Charles University, Czech Republic
Roma people are one of the most endangered minorities (not only) in the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). Roma and pro-Roma activists find themselves in a difficult situation – divided, threatened by racism from one side and by poverty from the other. The paper analyses their struggle for recognition in the past twenty years in the Czech Republic in five years/distinctive periods - 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. Using frame analysis, it shows how activists change their self-designation and diagnostic, prognostic, motivational frames in a dialogue with changing lines of their discursive and strategic action field. Complementary claim-making analysis is used to describe an interaction between their discursive and collective action repertoire.

Although there have been studies describing several and predominantly general self-designation and identity frames in relation to mobilization of the Roma movement in CEECs, there has still yet to be a systematic analysis. Those studies tell us little about the way these frames and their relations changed in time. And there is also no manifestation of the dynamic and dialogical character of activists framing and political claim-making, mobilization and collective action.

The paper shows that despite some assumptions in literature about frames and fixed identities of Roma activists in the Czech Republic, they respond and adapt to their political and discursive field. In the new millennium activists started to prefer a more individualistic approach to Roma integration. The focus of their framing switches from political and (multi)cultural to socio-economic domain (and assimilation) partly in relation to the development of donor funding (and especially EU funds). With these shifts the target audience switched from the public in the nineties to donors where frame resonance was focused. This affects collective mobilization and the protest participation is mostly driven by their allies with anti-racist and multicultural claims.