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Same Opportunities, Different Practices? The EU and Romani Women Activism in Romania and Bulgaria

Civil Society
European Politics
European Union
Social Movements
Political Sociology
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Mobilisation
Political Activism
Serena D'Agostino
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Serena D'Agostino
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Abstract

Building on extant literature on the Europeanization of social movements, this Paper investigates a quite overlooked and understudied type of 'intersectional mobilization' (Terriquez 2015), i.e. Romani Women Activism. Throughout a cross-national (qualitative) comparative analysis using Romania and Bulgaria as case-studies, this work means to understand to what extent Romani women activists can influence the Europeanization process depending on the ways they are able and/or willing to use (the same kind of) EU-driven opportunities. In particular, it first identifies a set of common political opportunities for mobilization created by the EU (i.e. top-down dimension) in the two countries and then analyzes the (political) usage domestic minority activists make of them (i.e. bottom-up dimension). Preliminary findings emerging from the data collected via semi-structured interviews conducted in both Romania and Bulgaria in 2015 and 2016 show that the impact of the EU intervention on this form of 'activism at intersections' (Kruckenberg 2010) varies significantly depending on the ways domestic (Romani women) activists react to EU-induced stimuli. Inspired by the concept of 'usage' employed by political sociology, and especially by extant research on the ‘usage of Europe’ (see, among others, Jacquot & Woll 2003; Woll & Jacquot 2010), this study contributes to the emerging literature on the Europeanization of social movements in general, and the Europeanization of intersectional mobilization in particular.