Open Lecture - Thomas Acton: Roma Politics and the Academy


The Institute of Sociology and Social Policy of Corvinus University Budapest  cordially invites those interested to the next occasion of the institutes sociology colloquium series:

  Open Lecture - 

Thomas Acton: Roma Politics and the Academy

Introduction: Zoltán Szántó 

Discussants: Miklós Hadas, János Ladányi

Time: Tuesday, 12th November, 15.30 - 17.00

Place: The Aquarium Room of the library, building C of Corvinus University Budapest  (1093 Budapest, Közraktár u. 4 -6, 1st floor)

  Professor Thomas Acton OBE is a campaigner for the rights of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. He is also Secretary of the Brentwood Gypsy Support Group and President of the Roma Support Group. He lectured at the University of Greenwich for over 30 years, and was Professor of Romany Studies and is currently Visiting Professor at the Corvinus University Budapest.

 Information about the lecture:

Roma Politics and the Academy

This lecture will argue that historically academic writing on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers has tended to follow rather than shape both popular sentiment and state policies and their agenda. Nonetheless, there have been real debates and moral choices in politics which offer critical opportunities and responsibilities to academic researchers and writers.  The emergence of both auto-didact and conventionally educated writers and academics themselves of Roma, Gypsy or Traveller heritage has led to a re-shaping of the questions about Romani history, society and culture, which in turn is leading to a re-reading of the archive.  The main fault line in contemporary Romani politics in Europe lies between the agenda of the Decade of Roma Inclusion to cram Roma populations back into the crumbling structures of the Europe of nation-states, and those who defend the marvellous attempt of Romani migrants concretely to realise a better life for themselves and defy the forces of reaction, racism, nationalism and immobilism, while the resurgent European far-Right calls down curses on both positions.  The paper will conclude that these struggles place special responsibilities on academics, not to come to common recommendations, but to clarify and contextualise with facts, the issues in the arguments so that we can take sides knowing what we do.


Professor Thomas Acton, MA, D.Phil (Oxon.), FRSA, OBE  ran the first English Gypsy Council summer caravan school on an illegal encampment in 1967, was rapporteur of the Education Commission at the first World Romani Congress in 1971, and published his doctoral thesis on British Gypsy Politics in 1974. He has since published numerous books and papers and served voluntarily with many NGOs, including 4 terms as secretary of the Gypsy Council between 1978 and 2007, and 8 as secretary of the International Gypsy Lore Society 2005-13. He taught at the University of Greenwich 1974-2009 and became the first Professor of Romani Studies in 1997. He was elected to the Scientific Committee of the European Academic Network for Romani Studies, but resigned to encourage greater Romani, Gypsy and Traveller participation. He is also Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society at Buckinghamshire New University. He is currently Patron of the Roma Support Group in London and Secretary of his local Brentwood Gypsy Support Group.


RSVP if possible to Dr.Andrew Ryder,