Slovakia's litmus test: Policy, prejudice, and resistance in the schooling of Romani children

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Douglas P. Biklen


Prejudice, Resistance, Schooling, Romani, Children, Critical race theory

Subject Categories

Education | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Special Education and Teaching


This study examines policy and practice related to the schooling of Romani children in the Slovak Republic. Through the qualitative methods of participant observation, interviewing, and document analysis, I explore the meanings that Slovaks ascribe to the concepts of race, ethnicity, and intelligence and how these assumptions undergird attitudes of teachers toward students from Romani communities and their relationships to classroom practices and access to equal educational opportunity. The field observations also reveal how Romani and non-Romani children and adults work within the educational system to challenge assumptions about children from Romani communities and work toward meaningful educational participation in Slovak schools. The research reveals how political rhetoric constructs members of Romani communities as problematic and as societal threats, ways that members of Romani communities and their allies resist these constructions, and a typology of approaches that teachers use in schooling children from Romani communities: dismissive, conditional, and open.


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