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Our identity has two cardinal aspects: the personal and the social identity. The former emphasizes the continuity and organization of the self, the latter originates from the group identification of the individual. Social identity can be described as cognitive and emotional elements of belonging to a sex, culture, nation and/or ethnicity, that is the interpretation of the given group’s values, norms, ideologies. Another significant component of self-identification – which is the core element of identity principles – is self-esteem, which is realized when compared to other groups.

In today’s Hungary Roma people are exposed to prejudice and discrimination. Therefore, the feeling of inhesion, conserving and respecting their culture and traditions play an important role in their lives. However, in case someone leaves this environment – for example moves to another city or changes school – or acquires some kind of knowledge that leads to questioning the norms of his/her original group he/she was socialized in, the person can be excluded from the community.

In our research we contacted secondary and university students, workers and habitants of segregated areas in Baranya county, who identified themselves as Romas (N = 29, male = 14, age average = 29,3 SD = 11,3; female = 15 age average = 33 SD = 16,5). We made interviews in focus groups concentrating on the topics of marriage, gender roles, taking part in higher education, prejudice, religion and other emerging values. We found that many young Romas have different attitudes towards values, traditions as their parents, grandparents. In the light of the above expressed conceptions – and including adolescents’ and young adults’ period and basic crisis of searching and forming their identities – this puts them at a higher risk of an identity crisis and the feeling of losing their origin, belonging to nowhere. These young people have to face discrimination from the major society because of their ethnic identity, and experience hardships at identifying with their community, family due to the changed norms, values and way of thinking they have.

Keywords: identity; Romas; values; exclusion; prejudice

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2018-09-13

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