The Co-optation of Pro-Roma NGOs: Economic Interest, Buffering Effects and Roma Leaders

  • Gaja MaestriEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


This chapter focusses on the way in which the participation of third sector organisations in the institutional governance of the Italian Roma camps has resulted in their co-optation, by reshaping their financial and social-organisational resources, and weakening and splintering the alliance between pro-Roma associations. It firstly illustrates the incorporation of civil society in welfare arrangements in Italy, focussing on the involvement of pro-Roma and Roma actors in the planning and implementation of the camps. The chapter then discusses three dynamics that led to their co-optation and, subsequently, to the persistence of segregation. First, the contracting out of camp services increased the economic dependency on public funding of certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who developed a managerial approach and toned down their claims for Roma inclusion. Secondly, the camp managers can deploy a degree of discretion concerning the interaction of the residents with the outside and the claims they are allowed to voice. Thirdly, the involvement of Roma leaders in the governance of the camps resulted in the silencing of the Roma communities.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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