Publications of Vera Messing

With Eyes Wide Shut. Job Searching Qualified Roma and Employee Seeking Companies

This article is dedicated to Julia Szalai who researches the underlying reasons, consequences and mechanisms of the social exclusion of the Roma in Central and East European societies. Her work and her writings serve as a compass for those who examine problems of social exclusion, including the authors of this article. The present paper discusses position of the Roma on the Hungarian job-market, focusing on highly-qualified young Roma within the context of the business sphere. Our knowledge is informed by the first results of an initiative which creates bridges between disadvantaged social groups and the business sector through pro-active measures. The initiative mobilizes multinational companies, business trainers, NGOs promoting social inclusion, and academics. Both the initiative and our study intend to pursue a subtle understanding of the tangible and hidden obstacles that highly educated young Roma encounter when seeking employment, and of the dilemmas that multinational companies face in relating to these prospective employees.

Conversation with Roma communities on media-image: Resisting the interpretation of power

Our paper follows up on a piece of research that we conducted about the media representation of Roma in Hungary in the past decade. Although several research studies and publications discuss the media coverage of Roma, there are still very few studies that focus on the perception of this image by the Roma themselves. In this study (and paper) we aim to fill this gap. We organized focus group discussions with a Roma media audience and used cuts from mainstream media news to discuss their experiences, feelings and reactions to such news. In our analysis we will demonstrate that regardless of their social status or actual life circumstances, the Roma are consciously responding to manipulative media coverage of their communities. They routinely decode those narrative and visual representations by which the mainstream media regularly identifies their communities without acknowledging the ethnic bias of the news. They are reluctant to accept the legitimacy of those who claim to represent “the Roma” without being elected to do so, while they are also critical about the claims these self-appointed authorities, like Roma experts, or representatives make while replicating the ethnic majority’s stereotypes about the Roma. We explain the results of the research using the framework of identity theories and academic literature discussing the media’s role in constructing identities.

Messing V. Policy puzzles with the employment of Roma. In: Green, Pink or Silver: The Future of Labor in Europe. Brussels: CEPS; 2015. p. 174-96.
Messing V. Apart or together: motivations behind ethnic segregation in education across Europe. In: Schiff C, Szalai J, editors. Being ‘visibly different’. Post-colonial, migrant and Roma youth in education across Europe. Palgrave Publications; 2014.

Review of Existing Monitoring Mechanisms for the Integration of Migrants in Hungary

This report is developed in the context of the project Assessing Integration Measures for Vulnerable Migrant Groups (ASSESS) which aims to monitor and assesses the effectiveness of integration measures for vulnerable migrant groups in ten EU Member States. The three main target groups of the project include migrant women, children and victims of trafficking. The project pursues four main goals: to develop standardized methods for the monitoring of integration of vulnerable migrants, applicable across the EU; to assess the effectiveness of integration policy/ measures for vulnerable migrant groups (women, children and victims of trafficking); to formulate recommendations for enhancement of the integration of vulnerable migrant groups (women, children and VOTs) across the EU, including identification of good practices; and to raise awareness among national stakeholders across the EU of the need to develop vulnerability-sensitive integration processes that address the particular circumstances of vulnerable migrants related to exclusion, exploitation and trafficking. The present report is the outcome of a study conducted in the first phase of the ASSESS project which is focused on identifying of the existing monitoring and data collection mechanisms in the area of migrant integration in ten EU Member States. The findings of the ten national reports will serve the development of comparative report on the same topic and will aid the development of tailored methodology and specific indicators for monitoring the integration of vulnerable migrant groups in the EU.

Messing V. Kettévágott munkapiac, szétforgácsolt társadalom. [Labour market cut in two, desintegrated society]. In: Kovách I, Dupcsik C, P.Tóth T, Takács J, editors. Társadalmi integráció a jelenkori Magyarországon [Social integration in contemporary Hungary]. Budapest: Argumentum Publ. ; 2012.
Messing V, Fleck G. Transformation of Roma employment policies. In: The Hungarian Labour Market 2010. Review and Analysis. Budapest: Insitute of Economics, HAS - National Employment Foundation; 2010. p. 83-98.

Good practices addressing school integration of Roma/Gypsy children in Hungary

Our recent project1 has a comparative perspective: it compares selected good practices of integration of ethnic minority children among three European countries (Italy, Switzerland and Hungary). The project examines several key areas of integration: governmental policies, NGO practices and most importantly good practices that might be transferable, irrespective of differences regarding national environment and ethnic group. We focus here on Hungary and aim to identify key elements of good practices of integrating Roma/Gypsy2 children such as creative pedagogical methods, differentiated personal treatment of children with learning problems, a multicultural curriculum, teacher training, extracurricular activities, community building and family involvement. This paper describes an innovative and transferable practice that promotes inclusion and addresses low school-performance and high dropout rates among low status Roma children. The 'Learnery' project is an after-school programme run by the minority community with the professional assistance of the public school. Results of the innovative practice are convincing: improved school performance, significant decrease in dropout rates, improved community relationships, and decrease of interethnic conflicts within the school.

Messing V. Egymásnak kiszolgáltatva. Inter-etnikus konfliktusok és a média. In: Neményi M, Szalai J, editors. Kisebbségek kisebbsége: a magyarországi romák emberi és politikai jogai. Budapest: Új Mandátum Kiadó; 2005. p. 316-53.
Messing V. Roma gyerekek az oktatásban Kelet- és Nyugat-Európa négy államában. Kormányzati és nem kormányzati programok, kezdeményezések, kísérletek.. In: Esélyt teremtő iskolák: iskolai törekvések a hátrányos helyzetűek tanulási kudarcainak leküzdésére. Budapest: Országos Közoktatási Intézet; 2002. p. 32-100.