The website for critical discussion about migration in Central and Eastern Europe.
14. 11. 05
Andras Kovats (ed.)

Roma Migration

This book contains an informative and comprehensive analysis of Roma migration in relation to economic, social, political and human contexts and the reasonings behind why the Roma leave. The reasonings behind why Roma leave the country are exteremely complex. The research within the book confirms that Hungarian Roma are a heterogeneous group who have significant differences in culture, economic conditions, language and a place of residence. The Hungarian Roma in Canada use their Hungarian links as well as cultivate their cultural Hungarianess. It is a disheartening fact that Hungarian Roma feel that Hungary is not an ideal or desirable place to live in. This is evident in in Miklósi Gábor´s case study of one woman´s asylum application. When an opportunity arises to move, the most ambitious, qualified and imaginitive seem more likely to migrate, however, this is not always the case.

Kállai´s research shows that for those who have an advantage towards migratory possibilites, do not seem to migrate. His case study on Gypsy musicians portrays the differences in attitudes towards migration within the professional field of musicians (even though this area is considered relatively homogenous). In Vajda and Prónai´s case study we come across a Romanian Roma family who live outdoors in a public park in Budapest during the summer begging around the railway stations in order to avoid paying for accommodation and the unpleasant encounters they would face if they were to lodge in a hostel that was made available to them. A monthly journey to the Hungarian Romanian border is made where they renew their visas, but by doing so they will avert paying fares on these trains through complex manouvres with the guards and in most cases even extend their journey time. Such an image of the Roma tends to feed notions of a modern “dangerous class“, however, it would be wrong to read the evidence this way. The ethnographic evidence on Roma who acquire a considerable income from begging suggests that such families also rely upon ´regular´ income and therefore appear as ´normal´, ´integrated´ Roma.

Also comprised in this book is a compilation of statistical materials on the changing attitudes to Roma during the Zámoly case, the study by Bognár and Kováts on the press coverage of Roma issues in the wake of the Zámoly migration and court decisions and István Hell´s crucial recapitulation of the events behind this sad story and the inspiring, amusing yet sobering debates that took place within the Hungarian Parliament.

This book deals with Roma migration and its focus is primarily on socio-economic and political issues rather than ethnicity. In this respect it will provide some direction in how these migrants are treated as part of an extensive change in labour markets.

Table of Contents

Michael Stewart: Foreword
Kováts, András: Migration Among the Roma Population in Hungary
Vajda, Imre–Prónai, Csaba: Romanian Roma in Hungary: Beggars, Merchants, Workers. A Case Study
Hajnal, László Endre: The Roma in Canada: Emigration from Hungary from the second half of the 1990s
Miklósi, Gábor: “It’s Got to Go Through!” A Case Study
Kállai, Ernő: Gypsy Musicians
Hell, István: The Zámoly Roma – the Road Ended in Strasbourg
Bognár, Katalin–Kováts, András: The Migration of Roma as Reflected in the Hungarian Press
Reason or Abandonment. Report of the Monitoring Group of the Publicity Club on the Presentation of the Zámoly Roma Affair in the Hungarian Press
Kováts, András: The Opinion of the Hungarian Population on Roma Migration. A Research Report

Parliamentary Speeches related to Roma Migration. Compiled by András Kováts
The Chronology of Roma Migration as Based on Reports Published in the Hungarian Press Between June 1997 and April 2001. Compiled by Katalin Bognár

Published with the kind permission from Prof. Endre Sik

14. 11. 05

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