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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg October 12, 2017

Making Ends Meet. How Roma Families Living in Poverty Cope

Lynette Šikić-Mićanović
From the journal Südosteuropa


Literature on how Roma families cope with precarious living conditions and social exclusion remains very limited. Out of all the national minorities and ethnic groups in Croatia, the Roma undoubtedly have the most difficult social position characterised by a high degree of poverty and social exclusion. Based on recent fieldwork, the aim of this article is to explore the coping strategies different Roma populations in Croatia employ to meet their everyday needs. Acknowledging the different forms of interconnected, interdependent and context-specific capital that together constitute advantage and disadvantage in society (Bourdieu 1986), this study analyses Roma’s access to economic, cultural, social, and symbolic capital. Along with discrimination and racism, Roma’s limited access to different forms of capital explicates the necessity of household-based, work-based, kin-based and aid-based strategies among some families living in poverty, especially in light of stricter social welfare policy measures that have been recently introduced.


I am grateful to my colleagues from the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences who significantly contributed to this study. They include Marija Geiger Zeman, Danijel Vojak, Marica Marinović Golubić, Tihana Štojs, Ivana Radačić, and Tea Sertić. In addition, I sincerely thank our Roma assistants who facilitated and enriched this study. Constructively, such a diverse team contributed to vastly different types of knowledge, experience and skills. This research would not have been possible without the Roma families and others who were mentioned in this article from whom we were able to collect a unique body of data that has generated a wealth of knowledge and insights on coping strategies. The wider research study was financially supported by the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

Published Online: 2017-10-12
Published in Print: 2017-9-26

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston