Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Slovak Republic: the Case of Roma Ethnic Minority
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The aim of the thesis is to investigate the reasons for Roma poverty and exclusion from the mainstream society, and to justify Roma response to exclusion they experience. This study will help to understand the extent of the ‘Roma issue’ in the Slovak Republic. In order to examine the Roma plight, the research employs primary qualitative data and secondary quantitative and qualitative data. The subjects of the study were residents of Roskovce, the segregated rural ghetto in Eastern Slovakia. To understand the phenomenon of social exclusion, the study looks at the problem through the eyes of the village residents. The research builds on two months’ intensive field research that involved observations, participatory action research with ten children and youths and semi structured interviews with sixteen respondents. As a result of structural changes during transitional period, Roma living conditions deteriorated. The findings reveal that Roma in Roskovce face life in dilapidated dwellings, lacking access to basic utilities. Furthermore, high unemployment, low levels of educational attainment hinder Roma chances to integrate in mainstream society. As a response, Roma develop living strategies perceived as unsustainable and pathological. What is more, their way of life and Romani distinct identity enhance negative stereotypes. This paper may contribute to studies of the Romani ethnic minorities and issues that accompany them until present time.