Political discourse

04. November 2020.

Themes, resources and effects of political discourses about the Roma: Comparative report

The analysis of political discourse about the Roma and Irish Travellers in five countries (Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Ireland and France), focusing on a corpus of 706 newspapers articles from the year 2018.

Executive summary:

  • Political and institutional discourses are mostly characterized by open hostility towards the Roma legitimizing a rhetoric of control, discipline and intervention by public authorities, by an ambivalent form of discourse contrasting the situation of the Roma minority with the situation of immigrants, or by benevolent antigypsyism, which in the best case communicates a positive and helpful attitude, but even then reinforces the subordinate position of Roma people in society.
  • In most countries, the analysis of the political discourse revealed a systematic objectifying dehumanization of the Roma people
  • In several countries, the political discourse depicts antigypsyism as happening “somewhere else, but not here” and the Roma are instrumentally used in political communication as a tool to promote political stances.
  • Even positive discourse does not necessarily promote inclusion. In Ireland, for example, condemnation of the discriminatory comments by politicians indicates support for the Travelling community, but this is not translated into policy and legislation.
  • The articles reflect many voices, but rarely those of Roma people, and especially not those of Roma women, nor Roma children.
  • Reports of current events are disconnected from the historical discrimination and persecution of the Roma by the non-Roma.
  • The structural causes of the situation of the Roma are rarely addressed.

Read the full report here.


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The projects PolRom (Grant No. 808062 — PolRom — REC-AG-2017/REC-RDIS-DISC-AG-2017) and ENGAGE (Grant no. 963122 — ENGAGE — REC-AG-2020 / REC-RDIS-DISC-AG-2020) are funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme (2014-2020) of the European Union.

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