“In Spite of” and “Alongside”: Disillusion and Success in Advocacy Communication for the Roma

Adina Schneeweis


This article examines the experience of doing advocacy for Roma rights as expressed by activists themselves. Grounded in the case of Romania, the study draws from examples of discrimination, self-interrogation and identity shifts, contextual alliances, and wider European funding processes. The stories shared by Romanian activists reveal discursive practices of disillusion and success. Disappointment emerged in connection to typically large-scale fissures in social, cultural, political, and economic systems, while optimism and drive were evident primarily at a micro level, in the lives of individual people, and in hyperlocalized action. This is not bad news for intervention given that incremental change still counts; yet, the vision of activism and the funding system need to be mindful of such reality and to adjust accordingly.


activism, advocacy, ethnicity, interviews, Roma/Gypsy

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