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Living beyond the Pale

Environmental Justice and the Roma Minority

Richard Filčák

Publication Year: 2012

We find Roma settlements on the outskirts of villages, separated from the majority population by roads, railways or other barriers, disconnected from water pipelines and sewage treatment. Why are some people (or groups) better off than others when it comes to the distribution of environmental benefits? In order to understand the present situation and identify ways to address the impacts of these inequalities we must understand the past and mechanisms related to the differentiated treatment. The situation and discrimination of the Roma ethnic minority in Slovakia is examined from the perspective of environmental conditions and injustice. There is no simple answer as to why there is environmental injustice. Environmental conditions in Roma settlements are just one of the indicators of failures of policies addressing the problem of poverty and social exclusion in marginalized groups, structural discrimination, and internal Roma problems. Environmental injustice is not an outcome of the “historical determination” of the Roma population to live in environmentally problematic places.

Published by: Central European University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-viii

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. ix-x

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

List of Figures

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xvi

This book is the culmination of several research stages, that began already in 2002—and will hopefully continue into the future. First of all, I am greatly indebted to people at the Central European University, and the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy in particular, ...

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pp. 1-4

May 24, 1945—it is sixteen days after the end of World War II. Czechoslovakia has been liberated and among the first laws adopted by the newly formed government2 is a directive on Governing Certain Conditions of Gypsies.3 Paragraph 2 of the directive states: “In villages where they [Roma] have dwellings in proximity to public, ...

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Chapter One: Environment, Poverty and the Roma

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pp. 5-16

Negative impacts from industrial production and development do not affect everyone in society evenly. Environmental risks and the distribution of adverse effects of development have a tendency to be imposed more on those who do not possess adequate resources for their own protection or are discriminated against because of their origin. ...

Part I

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Chapter Two: Environmental Justice and Entitlements

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pp. 19-44

I based my analyses of the Roma situation on two concepts: environmental justice and entitlement. Both concepts are helpful in order to address the questions of origins and presence of the inequalities and to create a framework for shedding light on the importance, dynamics, and outcomes of the uneven distribution. ...

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Chapter Three: The Roma of Slovakia

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pp. 45-66

The Roma minority is probably the most distinctive ethnic group in Central and Eastern Europe. Different from their neighbors in culture, language, demographic structure, history, and education level, the Roma are a group facing racial discrimination, unemployment, and health problems ...

Part II

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Chapter Four: Rudňany: A Tale of the Old Liabilities

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pp. 69-98

Rudňany is a small village facing big problems. It is situated in the eastern part of the Slovak Republic, approximately 14 kilometers from the town of Spišská Nová Ves. Its main attraction is an old abandoned tower with a mining lift in the very center of the valley surrounded by the nice two-story houses of the local inhabitants. ...

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Chapter Five: The Svinka River: People, Water and the Environment

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pp. 99-130

The Svinka River’s upper watershed region is located in the northeastern part of Slovakia. This area has traditionally served as a source of labor for the nearby cities of Prešov and Košice. Its agricultural land of low hills and forests was not used for industrial production. ...

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Chapter Six: A Regional Snapshot Overview

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pp. 131-148

Findings and outcomes of the two case studies described in this book may have represented the very specific situation of the Roma communities in the Rudňany and upper Svinka River Watershed region. However, I was also interested in determining whether the situation there is representative of a broader pattern of environmental discrimination ...

Part III

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Chapter Seven: Patterns of Environmental (In)justice

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pp. 151-164

Preceding chapters provided illustration of the situation in particular settlements, evidence of differentiated exposure to the environmental risks, and unequal access to environmental goods. This chapter attempts to conceptualize outcomes of the research about environmental justice in Slovakia. ...

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Chapter Eight: Roma? Not in My Backyard

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pp. 165-182

The patterns described in the previous chapter represent four specific types of unequal distribution of environmental benefits and harm. Although different in forms and scope, they share several common features. They are the outcome of division in the villages, where through social processes the weaker group (Roma) is unequally exposed to adverse environmental impacts ...

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Chapter Nine: Trends and Reverting the Trends

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pp. 183-218

I have attempted to provide in the previous chapters picture of the Roma minority vis-à-vis distribution of the environmental benefits and harms, and contexts in which decisions are taken and trends shaped. This chapter takes different approach and discusses how to address the trends and how to reverse various economic, social, and environmental factors ...

Annex: Shifts in Approaches

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pp. 219-222


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pp. 223-232


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pp. 233-237

E-ISBN-13: 9786155225543
Print-ISBN-13: 9786155225130

Page Count: 255
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 811562993
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Living beyond the Pale

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Romanies -- Social conditions.
  • Romanies -- Economic conditions.
  • Environmental justice -- Europe.
  • Social justice -- Europe.
  • Europe -- Environmental conditions.
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