Romani Studies

Ambitious education: the role of family, school and friends in the development of successful Romany life courses

Romani Studies (2003), 13, (1), 53–72.


Drawing upon questionnaire data this paper analyses ethno-national identity transformations among a sample of 470 socio-economically mobile Roma in Hungary. The paper concerns a group of Roma who have been successful in escaping the grip of ethnicity-specific poverty. The authors inquire about the extent to which these persons view themselves as Roma and the extent to which they were relatively privileged or disprivileged by their parents' levels of educational attainment. Some variations in the Romany identities assumed or accepted by the mobile respondents are also investigated and these are related to objective and subjective aspects of the respondents' current and especially childhood background. Predictions for respondents' children's identification are also analysed. The article asks what the circumstances are under which intergenerational socio-economic mobility among the Roma is, or is not, associated with identity switch or, alternatively, with the possible variations in patterns of identity retention?

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Author details

Székelyi, Mária

Csepeli, György

Örkény, Antal