Николай Тилкиджиев

Успелите роми т. ІІ

Успелите роми т. ІІ

13.11. ANNOTATION OF THE BOOK

13.11. A N N O T A T I O N OF THE BOOK
 
SUCCESSFUL ROMA
(Comp. and editor Prof.Dr. Nikolai Tilkidjiev)
 
 
The book is a work of scientific research and the final result of a three-year project funded by the National Science Fund of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science (C 02-174/16.12.2008-11.2011). The new collective monograph is a logical follow-up of the previous book entitled Roma Dropout  (2009, Sofia: Open Society Institute, 328 p.) based on a previous joint project to the same fund.
           
Seeking a positive image of the Roma in Bulgarian society, this work draws the methodological framework for studying the successful achievements of representatives of ethnic minorities, for knowing how to define who exactly are the “successful Roma”, for researching the historically accumulated prejudices and the present-day Roma identity, for utilizing policies addressed to the Roma, for establishing an adequate and broad range of qualitative and quantitative methods of study. The basic social-professional categories of successful Roma in our country are determined through analysis of nearly 200 in-depth interviews with Roma living and working in 62 different settlements in various municipalities and regions. A large share of the interviews taken in the field have been supplied by the excellent work of students from Sofia University. The book sums up the basic profiles of successful Roma: people working in local administration and local party and NGO leaders, Roma intellectuals, Roma politicians and administrators in central government, Roma journalists in local and national media, Roma musicians, and Roma entrepreneurs.
 
The authors have attempted to penetrate into the psychology of these people through their own biographic interpretation of their achieved success with regard to the premises and conditions, the incentives and obstacles, of how success became possible amidst discrimination, and their own summing up of their achievements. The concise conclusion drawn by the Roma themselves is that “Success has no ethnic origin…” or “There is no such thing as a successful or unsuccessful Roma, there is only a successful or unsuccessful human individual…”. This is demonstrated through analytical interpretations but also by plentiful excerpts from the opinions and assessments of the successful Roma, which as a whole give a particularly authentic and vivid idea about how they see the road they have covered to success and their expressed joy at the recognition they have gained. “People touch me for good luck – what more can I say than this: they want to touch a successful man, to be like him?!”, one of the respondents states with satisfaction. The book is an intimate confession of Roma who have managed to achieve much in life and who share here their concerns, hopes and dreams, their hidden excitement and disappointments, the affronts and the encouragements they have received.
 
Serving as a counterpoint to the personal biographical stories is the view of the ethnic community regarding the successful Roma: the change in its attitudes of acceptance, its alienation from successful Roma (studied through special quantitative samples by ethnic and religious affiliation). For the sake of comparison, the same questions have been asked of Bulgarian Turks, Bulgarian Muslims, and Bulgarian Christians. The opinions of experts (Bulgarian and Rumanian) regarding the road to success – ridden with contradictions – of the Roma, have also proven useful in many aspects.
 
As a supplement to the book is provided the full set of methodological tools, ready for repeated use, as well as a large amount of empirical data about the condition and development of the Roma in our country, drawn from various national sociological and statistical studies.  
 
Apart from the negative trends, this book is a new, concrete proof of the presence of positive trends among the Roma ethnic minority, of the participation of successful Roma in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of Bulgarian society, a participation that has already become considerable in quantity and significant in quality. In order to be able to really understand the world of the successful Roma, we must first come to know it. The thoughts they have shared are a kind of guide-book, drawn from life itself, about how a person can succeed in modern society despite ethnic or religious difference.
 
The project team and authors include: Prof. Nikolai Tilkidjiev, head of team from Sofia University, Prof. Valentina Milenkova from Southwest University, Prof. Tanya Nedelcheva from the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, BAS, two young researchers: Dr. Svetlana D. Hristova and Dr. Kamelia Petkova, and the fieldwork coordinator Natasha Mileva.  
 
 

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