Within the political framework of the European Union (EU), there has been long standing recognition that the on-going exclusion of Roma represents a key challenge for human rights, justice and social inclusion agendas. By introducing a requirement for Member States to produce National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS), the European Commission hopes that Member States will work in partnership with the EU and key stakeholders to achieve inclusion objectives in respect of housing, health, education and employment. The form and content of the United Kingdom’s (UK) NRIS submission has been criticised in a number of key areas; notably its ‘migrant blind’ approach (Craig, 2011; 2013). This article draws on recent research undertaken by the authors (Brown, Martin and Scullion, 2013), which aimed to estimate the size of the recently arrived Roma population in the UK and document some of the local level responses as a result of this migration. It provides an overview of the context giving rise to the research, and how previous population estimates have been attempted, both across the EU and in the UK. The paper considers whether conventional methodologies can be fit for purpose when attempting to assess the population size of a transnational and highly mobile ethnic group, or whether more experimental approaches might yield a fresh approach. More specifically, it examines the strengths and weaknesses of adopting a place typology approach (Lupton et al., 2011). Finally the paper looks at the publication of research about Roma populations in a highly politicised arena in the wake of ongoing national and international attention on Roma.
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- Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences - Professor of Housing and Communities
- Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research - Member