A Contemporary History of Exclusion

The Roma Issue in Hungary from 1945 to 2015
$79.00 / €69.00 / £63.00
Open Access (CC licence CC-BY-NC-ND)
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250 pages, 80 photographs
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This study presents the changing situation of the Roma in the second half of the twentieth century. The authors examine the effects of the policies of the Hungarian state towards minorities by analyzing legal regulations, policy documents, archival sources and sociological surveys. The book offers theoretical background to one of the most burning issues in east Europe.

In the first phase (1945-61), the authors show the efforts of forced assimilation by the communist state. The second phase (1961-89) began with the party resolution denying nationality status to the Roma. The prevailing thought was that Gypsy culture was a culture of poverty that must be eliminated. Forced assimilation through labor activities continued. In the 1970s Roma intellectuals began an emancipatory movement, and its legacy can still be felt. The third phase (1989-2010) brought about some freedoms and rights for the Roma, with large sums spent on various Roma-related programs. Despite these efforts, the situation on the ground did not improve. Segregation and marginalization continues, and is rampant.

Published in 2016 by arrangement with the Eötvös Loránd University, Eszterházy Károly University of Applied Sciences and the Center for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Contexts of Gypsy/Roma identity and history
On the sources of Gypsy/Roma history 
Who (what) is (was) Hungarian or Gypsy/Roma?

“Comrades, If You Have a Heart…” The History of the Gypsy Issue, 1945–1961
The construction and spread of the state socialist system
Policy and Gypsies
Modernization and Gypsy communities
Disciplinary state
The impossibility of self-organization
Minority issue
Discourses on social policy and equality

“Life Goes On…” The Hungarian Party-State and Assimilation
Social policy and the Gypsies: Wage work - Housing - Social system - Education 
Scientific approaches
Gypsy images
The transformation of discourse
Disciplinary power, disciplinary society: Police and agents - Health supervisors
The national minority issue
National movement
The “ethnic interpretation” of history

Roma Policy after the Regime Change
Minority issue
Prospects for multiculturalism
Minority (self-)government?
Divide at impera — The opportunities and impossibilities of self-organization
Civic movement
National minority culture — national culture
Questions of equal treatment and equal opportunity: Anti-discrimination - Equal opportunity
Roma programs: Education - Employment
Social policy and the Roma: Aid - Segregation 
Disciplinary society
The transformation of discourses
Research methods

Panopticon: Roma Policy, 2010–2015
The Hungarian National Cooperation System 
The anti-egalitarian character of the system 
Changing minority legislation
New social policy?
The shift

Summary: Decades of Exclusion 

List of Photographs

"Amid reignited identity struggles the book serves as a needed antidote to the essentialist and antagonizing public discourse that not only distorts the concept of a nation but also threatens the very rights and well-being of the Hungarian Roma minority. It is hence a useful tool for all those engaged in the field of human rights and Romani studies, but also serves as a helpful guide to anyone interested in modern Hungary and its exciting history. The well-established Hungarian scholars, Balázs Majtényi and György Majtényi, combine their extensive legal and historical expertise to examine the formation, interpretation, and implementation of inclusion policies and the management of minorities in the country."
"A researcher in legal studies and a professor of history, both tending to use the tools of the social sciences and be sensitive about the ethical and methodological aspects of their own work, this is an excellent combination to raise the questions which are raised in the book under review. The book examines the public discourses and the policies regarding the Hungarian Gypsies/Roma from the end of World War II until the present. The Majtényi duo strove throughout their inquiry to remain scholarly and analytical. The thoroughness with which they approached the issues and questions made it inevitable that they would highlight moral and political aspects. Theirs is a dangerous, but respectable enterprise."
"A the writers point out that they follow an emancipatory structuralist approach when making claims about the different aspects of the Roma issue, while remaining open to the application of other analytical viewpoints and to self-reflection. Readers meet the authors’ resulting human-rights focused approach through their descriptions and analyses. This approach is especially important if we consider that the Hungarian Roma community, a community excluded and discriminated against, faces ongoing human rights problems (difficulties that arise from their daily experiences which become integral problems in their lives). A Roma person reading this book would feel that the authors are familiar with the difficulties in their communities, indicating that the authors have succeeded in using so-called inner vision in respect of the ethnic group under discussion."
"Majtényi’s and Majtényi’s book is rich reading – like a colorful canvas, a montage of narratives, a selection of accounts. Even those who are familiar with the history of Roma issues in Hungary may find the book instructive, because of all the results of the authors’ own research in state archives. For beginners, the monograph is not just a source of basic information, but also a source of inspiration to continue studying the background of this timely human rights issue, the social exclusion of Roma populations in Europe."