Inclusion as an Agenda for Transformative and Sustainable Change: Addressing Invisible Power through Reflective Practice
Volume 47 Issue 5
Published: 25 November 2016
Abstract: This article discusses discrimination as a form of invisible structural power, and how, if it is not addressed, it can undermine efforts to promote the social inclusion of Romani people in the Western Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. We argue that there is a need for development practitioners working in Western European aid agencies to be reflective about our own positionality and practice. Through processes of individual and group reflection, aid professionals can become more aware of the operation of invisible power. In the Roma context, this means recognising antigypsyism as historically constructed racism. In this article, we show how invisible power impacts on the lives of Roma people, on social institutions and on the sense of self and position among those who work for ‘Roma inclusion’. We also briefly sketch a process of critical pedagogy that we are working on with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) that aims to surface invisible power and bring discrimination into the foreground.