SSP Research Seminar:Roma in north England: Finding the ‘good life’ or living in uncertainty?

We are delighted to welcome Dr Markéta Doležalová of the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds to present at the School Research Seminar.


The experience of Central European Roma of long history of economic and political marginalization and persecution has been well documented and has contributed to the increase in the mobility of Roma to countries in Western Europe, including the UK, since the expansion of the European Union in 2004. Roma come to the UK to find new opportunities, escape ethnic stigmatization and to have a ‘good life’.

In my presentation, I discuss that in order to have a ‘good life’, it is important not only to be able to have a decent standard of living, but also to not be treated as inferior to gadže (non-Roma in Romani) because of one’s ethnic identity while retaining a Roma identity and a sense of being Roma. Finding a ‘good life’ or decent life thus entails a tension between being treated as equal by gadže and by the state but remaining Roma in the Roma social world and as such requires carefully navigating one’s relationships with other Roma, with gadže and with the state. However, this imagined ‘good life’ is not always achieved after moving to Leeds. Even though in the UK, many Roma have managed to live in better economic conditions than they did in Central Europe, they still experience job precarity, poverty or marginalisation and dealing with the British state is unpredictable due to years of austerity measures and the ‘hostile environment’ policy adopted by the British government after 2010. In addition, Roma again experience stigmatisation based on their ethnic identity, working class background and EU migrant status.

The presentation will reflect on strategies that some Roma use in order to attain a sense of living a ‘good life’ and will discuss that even though Roma may create spaces where they can have a sense of belonging and access material support, their ability to have a ‘good life’ largely depends on the conditions produced and created by the state.  

Speaker biography

Markéta Doležalová is a social anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Manchester. Her research concentrates on Roma, mobility, the state, exclusion, marginalisation, and well-being, with a focus on migration from Central Europe to the UK. In addition to her academic work, she has worked with non-governmental organisations on projects that focused on Roma migrants’ experiences with healthcare services in the UK. She is currently an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. 

Event joining details

To join us please use the Zoom meeting please use the link and details below:

Meeting ID: 873 2700 1689
Passcode: 734477