WP142 Tremlett 2014. Roma integration and evidence-based policy making
Abstract: Executive summary
• When referring to ‘the Roma’ in practice or policy-making, close reference to the lived realities of people should be made to avoid mislabelling, over-ethnicising a situation, or making broad generalisations that can result in damaging community relations and ineffective practice.
• Racism against Roma minorities (also referred to as ‘Romaphobia’ or ‘anti-Gypsyism’ or ‘anti-Traveller prejudice’) is a problem in UK society, with the media frequently re-producing racialised, damaging representations. Racism in all areas of life, from individual to community, institutional and media sources, needs to be continually and robustly addressed.
• The notion of ‘evidence-based’ needs to be critically applied to policy and practice, always thinking about what ‘evidence’ means, to whom and why.
• Roma/Gypsy/Traveller people need to be involved in the process of collecting ‘evidence’, avoiding tokenistic gestures (Arnstein’s ‘ladder of participation’ – i.e. levels of citizen participation - can be a helpful tool).
• The discourse on and experiences of Roma communities and notions of ethnicity and race relations are markedly different across nation-states and contexts. Therefore practice and policy-making processes need to always endeavour to understand and refer to these contexts.
• Substantial migration of Roma people from Central and Eastern Europe to the UK is a relatively new phenomenon and we need to learn more about it. We cannot simply parachute in practices or policies or discourses from other countries or the EU, as the UK migrant experience will be different. Nevertheless, we can draw on existing UK good practice with working with Traveller communities as well as other migrants and disadvantaged communities; as well as learning from bad practice; and look to international examples for inspiration.
• Academics, activists, practitioners and policy-makers have not always collaborated effectively on issues relating to Roma communities. We need to break this pattern and work together to ensure social justice in a changing society.
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