This paper examines the perspectives of local Roma leaders regarding the ongoing impacts, contradictions and civic outcomes of Hungary’s 1993 Act 77 on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities, legislation that created the framework for minority self-governance among Hungary’s thirteen recognized minority groups. We use interview data with Roma self-government leaders to examine the perceptions and experiences of Roma leaders regarding nationality self-governance as, alternately, a mechanism for enhancing social inclusion and political agency and/or, an institution that only exacerbates the exact exclusions it purports to address. We find that while some Roma nationality self-government leaders have been able to assert political agency and use local nationality self-governments for local initiatives, they report marked limitations in the scope of what they are able to do. This is accentuated in places marked by ethnic conflict where leaders struggle with balancing political agency against political cooptation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science