Szociológiai szemle

Bálint Ábel Bereményi – Judit Durst
2021/3. szám
Bálint Ábel Bereményi – Judit Durst
This paper investigates the self-narratives of academically high-achieving, first generation college educated, and highly resilient Roma women. We place their meaning making and social navigation processes at the centre of our inquiry, understanding it as an important element of the resilience process of upward mobility (Ungar 2012). Self-narratives describing their changing social class and the corresponding dilemmas offers us the opportunity to understand their strategies, and how to accomplish a resilient minority mobility trajectory, by mitigating the tension and the emotional cost that unavoidably comes with the large social distance they travel between their community of origin and the newly attained class (Naudet 2018).
The article draws on two research projects; the first conducted in Spain (2015-17) among 35 Roma university graduates, and the second in Hungary, (2018-20), between 150 Roma and non-Roma university graduates. We have selected one ‘resilient minority mobility trajectory’ as an ideal type from each database for the purposes of this comparison. In this category, upwardly mobile Roma graduates achieve their aspired self- development with the minimal ‘emotional cost’ possible.
Our main argument is that a ‘minority path of social ascension’, in itself, is not enough to mitigate the high emotional costs of changing social class. It also requires negotiation, meaning making or reframing work. In this thesis, we support Michael Ungar’s proposal that resilience during upward mobility is a process in one’s ecological context and not an individual asset, and that meaning making work is a crucial part of it. We expand this thesis, however, by demonstrating how navigation among the available resources, and the negotiation of what a ‘proper Roma woman’ and a ‘successful life’ means, in the community of origin, plays a crucial part in accomplishing a resilient upward mobility process.
Kulcsszavak angol: Spanish Roma, Hungarian Roma, social mobility, resilience, meaning making