A Hidden Community: Justifying the Inclusion of Roma As an Ethnic Identity in the 2021 Scottish Census

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Published Dec 11, 2020
Nicola Hay
Luke Campbell
Marta Kowalewska
Colin Clark
Lynne Tammi
Brigitta Balogh


This article investigates the invisibility of Roma communities within Scottish census ethnic monitoring categories and broader empirical data. Consistent negative stereotyping as well as systematic oppression within social policy, dominant discourses, and data collection processes excludes Roma from participatorycitizenship. This article identifies precise forms of marginality and invisibility within official government data – permeated through social and education policy – that thereby limit the effective targeting of resources to marginalized communities. Specifically, the article argues that omitting Roma as an ethnic category from past data gathering processes limits understanding of the commonalities and differences within and amongScottish communities, rendering entire populations invisible within broader empirical data and therefore restricting both identification of needs and effective resource allocation. Thus, the article presents a timely argument for the inclusion of Roma as an ethnic category in the 2021 Scottish census, while addressingissues within the census approach to data collection – including the impending digitization of the process. Through discussing and advancing the case for the inclusion of Romani communities in the 2021 Scottish Census, the paper also seeks to establish the current social context by chronicling the history of Romanimigration and marginalization within Europe.

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Hay, N., Campbell, L., Kowalewska, M., Clark, C., Tammi, L., & Balogh, B. (2020). A Hidden Community: Justifying the Inclusion of Roma As an Ethnic Identity in the 2021 Scottish Census. Critical Romani Studies, 3(1), 46–71. https://doi.org/10.29098/crs.v3i1.62
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Scotland, Europe, Inclusion, Census, Identity, Roma, Gypsy, Traveller