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Looking beyond the B-side from the G-side: the under- and misrepresentation of the Roma in the media

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In this article we present the results of two different studies What Of Us Is In This? (carried out in 2006 at the University of Lleida and supported by the Catalan Audiovisual Council) and Roots&Routes (carried out between 2005 and 2008 at the University of Barcelona). These studies, on the one hand, reach the same conclusions using different methodologies and, on the other, illustrate that the results obtained from engaging in a dialogue with Roma people about their media representation (using qualitative techniques with the intention of giving them a voice) are not any different from the conclusions that have come out of more classical content and discourse analyses about minorities and the media performed to date.

When we asked the Roma about their perceptions and opinions of their representation in the media, we realized that they were quite conscious and critical about media discourses that offer a stereotyped vision of them, constructing a definition of being Roma by using difference and conflict. The Roma who participated in our study described how the media make them invisible and represent them in a distorted way. Thus, we can affirm the validity of a methodology that focuses its attention on giving a voice to the subjects, as this will not only contribute to reinforcing the results of other techniques, but also makes us think about the adequacy of research based exclusively on an analysis of the message (object), without taking into account the groups that are marginalized, and not only by the media, but also by research itself (subjects).

Keywords: Roma; cultural identity; ethnic minorities; inclusive research; media representation; media transformation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Rovira i Virgili University. 2: University of Barcelona.

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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