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Intersectional Mobilization and the EU: Which Political Opportunities are there for Romani Women’s Activism?

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Inspired by existing literature on the Europeanization of social movements, this study asks whether, and to what extent, the political opportunity structures (POS) for collective action created by the European Union contribute to intersectional mobilization. In particular, it investigates whether the EU integration process determines (political) advantages for domestic (intersectional) political actors, or rather facilitates their marginalization from mainstream political agendas. Do emerging forms of activism at intersections have access to a broader or a more limited range of EU-driven opportunities? To answer this question, this work uses Romani women’s activism in Romania as a case-study. Specifically, it identifies a set of EU-driven POS for Romani women advocates and uses (political) intersectionality as an innovative analytical tool to explore them. Empirical analysis employs data collected through semi-structured interviews with Romanian institutional and non-institutional political actors carried out in 2015. Findings show that although the EU contributes to produce an intersectional political advantage for Romani women activists (e.g. by facilitating their access to the resources available under different policy regimes), it nonetheless hinders the development of their intersectional political agenda by fostering single-strand policies and discouraging grassroots political action.

* Serena D’Agostino is a PhD candidate at the Institute for European Studies (IES) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The author gratefully acknowledges support from the Research Council of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Strategic Research Programme “Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe” (EDGE, 2013-2017). Her sincerest gratitude goes to Ilke Adam, Karen Celis, Petra Meier and Peter Vermeersch for their precious comments on earlier versions of this article. Deepest thanks also go to the EYMI General Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable and constructive advice. Last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to Crina Marina Morteanu for making the fieldwork in Romania possible.

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