Roma migrant inclusion in the UK: The merits of neo-liberalism
Yaron Matras & Daniele Viktor Leggio
University of Manchester
Scholarship on Roma inclusion, whether of recent migrants or of long established communities, has highlighted the negative effects of the implementation of a neo-liberal agenda across Europe. Ethnographically and historically informed approaches to development in the global south have however highlighted how the implementation of neo-liberal forms of governance can have both positive and negatives effects. We present the case of the integration of a Romanian Roma community in Manchester, UK, highlighting how different and contrasting agendas, all of them characterized by the implementation of forms of neo-liberal governance, have had both positive and negatives effects for the community. The whole picture, however, is overall a positive one, especially if compared with the situation of Roma migrants in other Western European countries. Roma in Manchester have access to stable housing, which in turns allows children to regularly attend school and adults to secure employment, albeit precarious and low-paid, and access health and welfare services. At the same time, some public and third sector agencies have taken a ‘marginality management’ approach in their engagement with the community. The experiences of this Roma community thus call into question approaches that see neo-liberalism as a homogeneous agenda inherently negative for Roma inclusion.