Collective criminalization of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe

Social causes, circumstances, consequences

Authored by: Margit Feischmidt , Kristóf Szombati , Péter Szuhay

The Routledge Handbook of European Criminology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415685849
eBook ISBN: 9780203083505
Adobe ISBN: 9781136185496


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The Roma constitute the biggest ethnic minority in Central and Eastern Europe. Originating from India, they have been living in this region for many hundred years. While there have been historical periods when Roma groups were better integrated in economic and social frameworks and enjoyed a relatively stable social standing, today their predicament is mostly characterized by social marginalization and poverty. This dire, often hopeless economic situation also strongly shapes everyday Roma culture. Although Roma groups, especially those residing on the territory of the former Habsburg Empire, have ‘travelled’ through a process of forced cultural assimilation (and therefore tend to speak the language of the majority and to follow its religion), their circumstances and lifestyle, characterized by the contested notion of the ‘culture of poverty’, differentiates them from members of the ethnic majority.

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