Romani Studies

Attitudinal ambivalence towards the Romanian Roma: A comparison between Italian and French students

Romani Studies (2021), 31, (1), 77–99.


Recent migrations of East European Roma have exacerbated the currently widespread phenomenon of antiziganism in Europe, but there are cultural, social, political, and historical factors in the various European countries that may affect reactions to Roma in diverse ways. This study aims to compare the attitudes of two groups of 198 young Italian and French people towards Romanian Roma. Stereotypical representations, affective reactions, and levels of cognitive and affective ambivalence were assessed. The results showed a univalent prejudice even if the attitudes of the Italian participants were more unfavourable than those expressed by their French peers. The data showed a similar stereotypical image of the outgroup but different intensities in the affective variables assessed. Italian and French participants were cognitively but not affectively ambivalent towards the Romanian Roma, and the difference between the two levels of cognitive ambivalence was not statistically significant. Potential social factors, such as the history of migration or the political agenda setting, are hypothesized as the origin of the differences in the intensities of Italian and French participants’ feelings towards the Romanian Roma.

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