Faces and Causes of Marginalization of the Roma in Local Settings

Full Project Description
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Contextual inquiry to the UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011, focusing on Hungary, Romania, Serbia. A joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Open Society Foundation's Roma Initiatives Office (RIO) and the Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma Inclusion program, and the Central European University/Center for Policy Studies (CEU CPS).

Project brief (Download)


The Regional Roma Survey 2011 was a joint endeavour of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank (WB) and the European Commission (EC) and the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Two complementary surveys were carried out in 2011 with the aim of mapping the current socio-economic situation of Roma in a select of EU and non-EU countries. The survey questionnaire was designed jointly by a team from UNDP, the World Bank and the FRA. Each survey used different questions and a core common component composed of key questions on education, employment, housing, health, free movement and migration issues, and discrimination experiences. Both surveys applied the same sampling methodology in countries of overlap allowing for the development of a common dataset on core indicators and ensuring comparability and consistency of results. The UNDP survey focused on social and economic development aspects and the FRA survey on the fulfilment of key fundamental rights.

The UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey, a follow up of the 2004 UNDP survey, covered the EU member states with higher density of Roma populations, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the non-EU states of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova and Serbia. 

The FRA published part of the data in The Situation of Roma in 11 Member States. Survey results at a glance that covered Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain.

The contextual inquiry 

A small team of CEU experts was asked to assist the planning and the implementation of the contextual inquiry to the UNDP/World Bank/EC Regional Roma Survey 2011 with methodological and analytical knowledge and advice. It was also decided that CEU and UNDP work together on a conceptual scheme, and CEU takes responsibility for designing the contextual inquiry and finding the main implementing partners in three countries.


The 2011 UNDP/FRA survey focused on Roma who live in marginalized conditions (in Roma settlements or areas of compact Roma population) and on non-Roma inhabiting in the close proximity of such Roma units. Earlier research endeavours and the 2011 survey revealed that in spite of the commonalities of marginalized conditions, the actual faces and degrees of marginalization vary in the local societies that Roma are part of. Thus the aim of the contextual inquiry is to map the differing conditions in the domains of education, employment and work, housing and infrastructure, and representation and participation in local policy-making and politics and to reveal differences in access and provisions in the aforementioned areas that the aggregate (average) indicators for the communities-at-large may hide. By focusing on ethnic, class and gender inequalities within the selected municipalities/localities the contextual research will produce a set of qualified indicators for measuring the degree of Roma inclusion/exclusion. Relying on the UNDP 2011 dataset, the computed national-level indicators, and the visual geographic map of the 108-113 localities where the UNDP survey was run in each of the countries, it was aimed to choose 3-6 clusters involving some 15-25 localities for fieldwork in the contextual inquiry. The clusters all comprise urban and rural communities: in Hungary: 4 towns, 16 villages; in Romania: 5 centres, 20 villages; and in Serbia: 4 towns, 12 villages.

The contextual inquiry also set the aim of involving Roma participants in the implementation of the research with the multiple objective of: 

  • gaining a more thorough insight into inclusionary and exclusionary practices;
  • having a more reflected view on Roma exclusion; 
  • empowering Roma researchers and community members to participate in future projects on Roma exclusion as well as carry out self-monitoring of local communities.    

More concretely, the inquiry intends:

  • to map the specific characteristics of the localities included in the sample of the representative 2011 survey and track the correlation between territorial characteristics of the localities and exclusion status of the households;
  • to bring up the varying degrees and the different constellations of marginalization (understood as different forms of deprivation from participating in various aspects of the community’s life) while exploring the different degrees and faces of marginalization in a select of countries that together portray the diversity of the observed regions (SEE and CEE);
  • to explore how deprivation is produced by the various forms of institutional discrimination within the local economic, social, and political structures;
  • to investigate the forms and the quality of inter-ethnic relations in certain major areas of public and private encounters;
  • to develop a methodology and a tool-kit for regularly monitoring local-level Roma exclusion/inclusion; 
  • to depict the meanings, forms, and potentials of Roma exclusion/inclusion in local policy-making and politics.


  • A comprehensive and comparative dataset on the marginalized Roma in selected countries of CEE and SEE.
  • A methodological instrument (a tool-kit) to conduct Roma inclusion driven policy/development assessment in marginalized communities.
  • Reflected experiences of participatory research potentially informing the construction of a local monitoring infrastructure in the region.
  • A larger report on Roma marginalization that will rely on both the survey and the conceptual research results.
  • Comparative knowledge to follow up 2004 UNDP report that the sponsoring and implementing institutions of the complex inquiry will package in suitable advocacy products (e.g. larger comprehensive UNDP/OSF, CEU report, thematic reports, country reports, etc.).

Implementing partners

The contextual inquiry (fieldwork) is carried out with the cooperation of three partner institutions: 

  1. Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest, Hungary), head of the Hungarian team and the lead of the contextual research: Katalin Kovács;
  2. Desiré Foundation (Cluj, Romania), head of the Romanian team: Enikő Vincze;
  3. Belgrade University, Faculty of Philosophy (Belgrade, Serbia), head of the Serbian team: Slobodan Cvejić
Equality and Social Justice
Rural and Regional Policy
Social Policy
Julia Szalai
Violetta Zentai
Zsuzsanna Vidra
Katalin Kovacs, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
Eniko Vincze, Desire Foundation, Romania
Slobodan Cvejic, Belgrade University, Serbia
Project Administrator: 
Lilla Jakobs
Administrative Information
Administrative information about the project such as status, duration, and funding body. Some of the fields are only visible for CEU Administrators.
Project status: 
Funding body: 
United Nations Development Programme
Funding body: 
Open Society Foundation - Roma Initiatives Office
Oct, 2012 - Dec, 2014
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