ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Ethno-business -- the unexpected consequence of the policies for political representation of national minorities in Romania

Andreea Gavriliu
University College London
Andreea Gavriliu
University College London
Open Panel

Abstract

In the past several years, a new term – ‘ethno-business’ – was coined in relation to a series of unexpected effects of the post-1990 public policies for the protection of national minorities in Hungary and Romania. The term refers to practices seeking to take unfair advantage of the existing legal framework for the protection of national minorities in order to obtain material, financial or political gain. Especially in the case of Romania, this phenomenon is to date largely unresearched. Instances of ‘ethno-business’ practices include ethnic Romanian political entrepreneurs’ running for elections on a national minority mandate by claiming to belong to that respective minority (e.g. the cases of the leaders of the Italian and Ruthenian minorities); attempts by political entrepreneurs to re-create ethnic identities long assimilated during communism so as to enable them to claim benefits for these ‘new’ ethnic groups (e.g. the Ruthenian and Macedonian minorities); in addition, another unexpected effect of minority policies has been the extreme fragmentation of the socio-political organizations representing national minorities (e.g. the Bulgarian and Italian minorities). This paper will attempt to shed light on the circumstances leading to the emergence of the practices included under the label of ‘ethno-business’. This will be carried out through a detailed analysis of the opportunity structures created after 1990 for national minorities. Using Hanna Pitkin’s distinction among the different categories of representation, a secondary purpose of this paper is to briefly assess the effects of ethno-business on the democratic representation of national minorities.