1. bookVolume 68 (2020): Issue 4 (December 2020)
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30 Mar 2019
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access type Open Access

How Roma Mayors Penetrate the Municipal Power Structures: Resisting the Non-Roma Dominance in Slovak Local Governments

Published Online: 05 Jan 2021
Page range: 397 - 411
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
30 Mar 2019
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

This paper discusses the outcomes of power asymmetries in Slovak municipalities with Roma population and presents examples how local Roma leaders resist the non-Roma dominance by active participation in local elections. Presenting data from field research and long-term repeated observations, the paper shows successful strategies of elected Roma mayors who disrupt the usual perception of the Roma as objects of decision-making process and passive recipients of various policies. In these paternalistic beliefs Roma have never been seen as actors who can control resources, who could hold the political power and who could decide how to use the resources. Although the Roma have penetrated the power structures of many municipalities, they are not able to wipe out invisible ethnic boundaries, or, at least, to soften and disrupt them. However, as the text illustrates, it seems that the political power asymmetries in a significant number of municipalities are being balanced, nevertheless, the symbolic dominance and symbolic power of non-Roma still persists.

Keywords

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