Paper short abstract:
Is there a racially patterned mobility trajectory for academically successful college educated Hungarian Roma of disadvantaged family background? How ethnic (racial) capital can be mobilised through the process of upward mobility to mitigate the cost of and the “injuries” of moving class through educational credentials?
Paper long abstract:
Social and public policies present upward social mobility as an unambiguously progressive process. Yet, apart from a few but inspiring exceptions (e.g. Bourdieu’s ‘habitus clivé’ concept; the ‘hidden injures of class’; or the so called ‘hidden cost” or “prices of mobility’ thesis), there is a lack of systematic empirical studies in Europe to explore the experiences of ‘racialised’ individuals and the impact (‘prices’) of changing class through upward mobility on them.
Among the professional middle class of stigmatised, historically racialised minorities (like the Roma in Europe) those who have achieved extreme rates of intergenerational mobility, face unique challenges during their mobility path. Their challenges emerge from the difficulties of maintaining intra-class relations with poorer ‘co-ethnics’ (people from the communities they were brought up in), but also managing interethnic relations with the majority population. The response to these problems is the emergence of “minority culture of mobility”, for instance, the creation of ethnic professional organisations and the mobilisation of ethnic (racial) capital to facilitate the upward mobility process.
Throughout this paper, we focus our attention on the question of mobilization of ethnic or racial capital in the case of an influential ethnic organisation and address the question what effect it has on the ethnic and racial identity formation of their members and whether it can mitigate the costs of their upward mobility. We base our arguments on our institutional ethnography at a Roma social street theatre group (Independent Theatre) and on 60 in-depth narrative interviews with Hungarian Roma college educated people.
The (im)mobility of race: European perspectives [Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network]