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  • Author or Editor: Iván Szelényi x
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Who are Roma? What is the size of Roma population in a given country, a region of the world or in the whole word? To date, most social scientific research done in the Central European region on Roma populations operated with the assumption that one can arrive at an objective definition who Roma are and thus to come uup with accurate estimate of the size of Roma population. Rather than aiming at an „accurate” estimation of the Roma population, in this paper we hypothesize that ethnic groups are „social constructions”. The boundary of any single ethnicity is „fuzzy”: who is „inside” and who is „outside” this boundary will vary depending who does tha classification. This paper tests survey results on two systems of classification: 1) self-identification by the repondents, and 2) and classificaton by interviews in three countries, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania; and we show that there are substantial variation across countries. The paper offers strong support to the hypothesis that ethnic boundaries and various systems of classification are alterble across cultures. About two-third of those two were classified as Roma by the interviewers in Hungary and Romania do not regard themselves as Roma. In Bulagria two-third of the respodent who were classified as Roma by the interviewer identifier themselves as Roma. Therefore the task of social research is not to identify which classificatory system is „correct”, or „accure”, but to understand the social processes how these various classificatory system are created.

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After the collapse of the Berlin Wall it was conceivable that China would follow the path towards the cessation of communism, as it happened in the successor states of the USSR, Yugoslavia and the East European satellite states of the Soviet Union. But the Communist Party of China (CPC) managed to retain control and avoided the Russian and East European collapse, a full-fledged transition to capitalism and liberal democracy. For a while, China was on its way to market capitalism with the possible outcome to turn eventually into a liberal democracy. This was a rocky road, with backs-and-forth. But the shift to liberal democracy did not happen. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, approved by Deng Xiaoping, was a more alarming setback than the contemporary Western observers were willing to realize. This paper presents an interpretation of the changes under present Chinese leader, Xi Jinping in a post-communist comparative perspective.

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