Cultural psychology and ethnic minority research

 

Assimilation or integration? Utilizing international insights and Roma perspectives to facilitate social inclusion in the Czech Republic

 

Project goals:

  • Discover culturally specific conceptualizations underlying existing social inclusion strategies, and suggest alternative approaches utilizing Roma perspectives.
  • Explore factors that facilitate higher education involvement and professional success of socio-economically disadvantaged and marginalized individuals in the Czech Republic.

 

Despite integration efforts targeting socio-economically disadvantaged and socially excluded ethnic minority populations such as the Roma, the vast majority of them continue to face marginalization, and initiatives tend to be designed without regard to their world-views and life-ways. Using interdisciplinary qualitative methodology with phenomenological perspectives, this research will discover the often culturally specific factors that play a role in successful integration of the Roma into the majority society, and strategies that can empower them, in particular with regard to higher education. Two empirical studies have been proposed; one utilizing the community-based participatory research model to involve circa 35 community members from 5 localities in focus groups, the other employing personal in-depth interviews with 15 academically and professionally successful Roma men and women across the Czech Republic to explore their inspirational life-course experiences and insights. Because minority populations are increasing and contemporary societies grow ever more interconnected, both in Europe and world-wide, insights offered by this project are now needed more than ever.