The thesis presents a comparative qualitative empirical study of the Roma of Hungary, multiculturalism and social inclusion. The situation of the Roma minority has become one of Hungary’s gravest problems, as the living standards of the group have worsened drastically after the democratic transition in 1989. Today estimates suggest that at least 500.000 to 600.000, of the total Hungarian Roma population of 750.000, live in extreme poverty in segregated areas of the country. Though measures have been taken since the beginning of the 1990s to improve the situation of the Roma and to integrate them into society, social exclusion, unemployment and lack of education are still the most challenging problems facing the minority and the Hungarian society today. Globalization and multiculturalism have changed the political landscape in Hungary, and since 2006 the far-right Jobbik party and their guard; Magyar Garda, the Hungarian Guard, have gained in popularity. This is mostly due to their anti-Roma agenda and fight against so-called gypsy-crime. The growing gap between the Roma and the Hungarian majority population is a result, mostly, of cultural differences, which not only is damaging the social inclusion of the minority, but also the social cohesion and stability of society. The aim of this thesis is to either verify or falsify whether multiculturalism promotes segregation and distrust between communities and among the population. In order to achieve this objective, the thesis focuses on the social inclusion and integration of the Hungarian Roma minority, their cultural identity and the policies and acts implemented by the Hungarian Parliament for Roma-inclusion since 1989. The study is based on the theoretical framework and principles conveyed by Axel Honneth, Will Kymlicka, David Miller and Robert D. Putnam. The theories will be compared in order to examine the social situation of the Hungarian Roma minority, their culture and their possibility of inclusion in a multicultural context - exemplified via the Hungarian National Strategy for Social Inclusion. In the first part, results of the empirical research emphasizes on the essential aspects of traditional Roma-culture as the underlying factor behind the minority’s social situation. Thus the research outlines that the existence of the “Gypsy” code, Rromanipen, forces Roma to exclude themselves from gadže (non-Roma). The thesis then examine the Acts passed in 1993 and 2011, which legally recognizes the Roma as a minority, and the Hungarian National Strategy for Social Inclusion, in order to highlight the challenges of Roma-inclusion in Hungary. The result suggests that the principle of fellow citizenship, social inclusion and integration of the Roma of Hungary cannot be achieved on the basis of multicultural principles.
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