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Systematic evaluation of anti-discriminatory policy and interventions in Slovakia

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Abstract

Image by Slavoj Raszka from Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/children-girls-smile-transcarpathia-1531938/ Despite various NGO and state-level efforts for Roma inclusion, the Roma remain the most segregated minority in Slovakia. As the second largest ethnic minority, they represent approx. 7.45% of the total population of Slovakia (Mušinka et al., 2014) and they still suffer from structural inequalities, socioeconomic marginalization and widespread prejudice (Lášticová & Findor, 2016). Recent findings showed that anti-Roma attitudes should be treated as a unique form of prejudice (Kende, Hadarics, & Lášticová, 2017), seeing that intergroup contact in this case increases rather than reduces prejudice. Moreover, anti-discrimination interventions can sometimes have a negative effect on attitudes towards disadvantaged groups (Legault, Gutsell, & Inzlicht, 2011). Inducing harmony among groups that have historically unequal status can also have a sedative effect on social change (Dixon et al., 2010). Our pilot research aims to map, analyse and evaluate whether interventions conducted outside of academia have the potential to improve intergroup relations and promote social change.
References
Dixon, J., Tropp, L. R., Durrheim, K., & Tredoux, C. (2010). “Let them eat harmony” prejudice-reduction strategies and attitudes of historically disadvantaged groups. Current Directions in
Psychological Science, 19(2), 76-80.
Kende, A., Hadarics, M., & Lášticová, B. (2017). Anti-Roma attitudes as expressions of dominant social norms in Eastern Europe. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 60, 12-27.
Lášticová, B., & Findor, A. (2016). Developing explicit measures of stereotypes and anti-Roma prejudice in Slovakia: Conceptual and methodological challenges. Human Affairs, 26(3),
233-252.
Legault, L., Gutsell, J. N., & Inzlicht, M. (2011). Ironic effects of antiprejudice messages: How motivational interventions can reduce (but also increase) prejudice. Psychological Science,
22(12), 1472-1477.
Mušinka, A., Škobla, D., Hurrle, J., Matlovičová, K., & Kling, J. (2014). ATLAS rómskych komunít na Slovensku 2013. Bratislava: UNDP.
Ritchhart, R., & Perkins, D. (2008). Making thinking visible.Educational leadership,65(5), 57-65.
Image by Slavoj Raszka from Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/children-girls-smile-transcarpathia-1531938/
Despite various NGO and state-level efforts for Roma
inclusion, the Roma remain the most segregated
minority in Slovakia. As the second largest ethnic
minority, they represent approx. 7.45% of the total
population of Slovakia (Mušinka et al., 2014) and they
still suffer from structural inequalities, socioeconomic
marginalization and wide-spread prejudice (Láštico
& Findor, 2016). Recent findings showed that anti-
Roma attitudes should be treated as a unique form of
prejudice (Kende, Hadarics, & Láštico, 2017), seeing
that intergroup contact in this case increases rather
than reduces prejudice. Moreover, anti-discrimination
interventions can sometimes have a negative effect
on attitudes towards disadvantaged groups (Legault,
Gutsell, & Inzlicht, 2011). Inducing harmony among
groups that have historically unequal status can also
have a sedative effect on social change (Dixon et al.,
2010).
Our pilot research aims to map, analyse and evaluate whether interventions conducted outside
of academia have the potential to improve intergroup relations and promote social change.
SYSTEMATIC EVALUATION OF
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
AND INTERVENTIONS IN
SLOVAKIA
Lucia Hargašová (1), Xenia Daniela Poslon (1,2), Barbara Lášticová (1)
& Miroslav Popper (1)
(1) Institute for Research in Social Communication, Slovak Academy of Sciences
(2) Department of School Education, Faculty of Education, Trnava University in Trnava
Preliminary Recommendations
State institutions should collaborate both with NGOs and the academic institutions
to design interventions to reduce anti-Roma prejudice in Slovakia.
Systematic independent evaluation of impact should be carried out.
Best practices should be singled out and scaled to a larger audience instead of
carrying out multiple small-scale activities that are independent of one another.
Discussion and Conclusions
Intervention
example
Connecting
Cultures VIII
Stories that move
Living Library
Intended
Outcome
Procedure
Target group
Agent
Theoretical
background/
psychological
processes
Evaluation
Reducing prejudice through
increased knowledge about
Roma culture
Reducing prejudice and
discrimination towards all
minority groups
Increasing awareness, attitude
change in majority and
understanding mechanism of
prejudice formation
Organizing traditional Roma
music festival
Developing online
educational portal
Creating educational online
database with videos of living
books
Minority and majority Majority (teachers and
educators)
Majority (teachers or social
workers, corporate employee
trainings)
“Integration of Roma in
Záhorie region” (NGO)
Milan Simecka Foundation
(NGO)
EDUMA (NGO)
Not explicit - Implicitly
contact hypothesis (in/direct
contact with culture and
members of minority group)
Visible thinking (Ritchhart &
Perkins, 2008): Working with
indirect contact based on
story telling, perspective
taking
Working with perspective
taking, empathizing
General sensitization
towards minorities
None Not yet Attempt to experimentally
evaluate impact (small
sample)
Table 1 - Preliminary analysis of year 2018: examples of interventions
Introduction
Methods
Results
GOAL: Map anti-Roma prejudice-reduction interventions carried out during Roma Decade+ (2005 - 2018).
By intervention we understand any educational, cultural or awareness raising event, the explicit goal of
which is to reduce anti-Roma prejudice in target audience.
METHODS: Qualitative document analysis, multiple case study.
PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS: Year 2018. Total no. of interventions - 60.
SOURCES: Desk research of publicly available online sources - grant calls administered by ministries and
foundations, national and local NGO websites.
CATEGORIES:
Agent: state/nongovernmental/corporate (corporate and state bodies fund NGOs to conduct interventions
either through corporate foundations’ or ministries’ call for grants).
Goal: prejudice reduction in school settings/raising awareness of Roma culture.
Targeted outgroup: Roma minority/multiple outgroups.
Participants: pupils, teachers/general population/Roma minority.
Most interventions are either carried out in schools or
organized as cultural events. They are dominantly run
by NGOs.
Interventions in schools engage students and teachers.
In terms of possible impact, the advantage of Living
Libraries project is that it also promotes
antidiscrimination approach within private sector.
Cultural events are financed via governmental funds
due to state commitment to support minorities.
Although only a small number of calls are specifically
aimed at prejudice reduction, almost all granted
applications have used the language of fighting
prejudice and stereotypes” . But out of approximately
30 granted proposals per year, in 2018 only 3 proposals
actually addressed anti-Roma prejudice.
Design of the interventions almost never explicitly uses
any kind of theoretical background. Interventions in
school settings seem to assume that experience,
empathizing and perspective taking automatically
change attitudes and behaviors.
As the evaluation is not performed, we cannot draw
conclusions about the actual impact of interventions.
The cultural events mainly include art performances and
festivals, implicitly hoping that any kind of direct contact
with Roma culture and members of Roma minority
would automatically lead to improving intergroup
relations. This may contribute to and strengthen the
ongoing stereotyped and essentializing perception of
Roma minority as musicians, artists and artisans.
Our further analysis will examine whether these
interventions have any potential to spur social change,
given that even when they are targeted to the Roma, the
risk that they will result in essentializing them is high.
Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the grant VEGA n°2/0127/19: “Social-psychology
aspects of anti-discrimination interventions: A qualitative metaanalysis” and by the
project “PolRom: Identifying evidence-based methods to effectively combat
discrimination of the Roma in the changing political climate of Europe” funded by
the Justice Programme of the European Union (2014-2022) under the grant no.
808062-PolRom-REC-AG-2017/REC-RDIS-DISC-AG-2017.
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Image by Slavoj Raszka from Pixabay
  • R Ritchhart
  • D Perkins
Ritchhart, R., & Perkins, D. (2008). Making thinking visible. Educational leadership, 65(5), 57-65. Image by Slavoj Raszka from Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/children-girls-smile-transcarpathia-1531938/