(Un)Safe spaces for intersectional activism: Romani women’s responses to transnational political opportunities

In: European Journal of Politics and Gender, 16 March 2021

By Serena D'Agostino



This article investigates the responses of intersectional activists to the political opportunity spaces made forthem by international organisations at the European transnational level. To do so, it uses Romani women’s activism and the Council of Europe as case studies, and develops a heuristic tool – the (Un)Safeness Response Line – that builds on five categories of analysis: compliance, compromise, contestation from within, opposition and denial. Mostly based on semi-structured and unstructured expert interviews conducted in 2016 and 2017, this study observes that Romnja activists have been mostly compliant with the political agendas of international organisations. Yet, they have not always perceived the opportunity spaces created for them as safe spaces. This has manifested in negotiating safeness and accepting compromises, as well as in strong opposition. This article shows that opportunity spaces for intersectional activisms are not enough, and that the quality of such spaces matters. Thus, it fosters a more critical approach to the study of contemporary social movements.