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Abstract

Studies in specific geographical contexts have shown that the spread of Pentecostalism’s impact on Roma communities is twofold: it is linked to social change including a rise of education levels, literacy, decrease in crime, better relationships with the majority culture, and also is instrumental in the fostering of a “trans-national” identity and revitalization of their respective Roma identities. However, Pentecostalism cannot be considered a formula that intersects with a Romani community with consequential predictable results— in fact, in Southeastern Europe, Romani Pentecostalism is growing at a much slower rate than that of its counterparts in Western Europe and in places like Romania and Bulgaria. Further, in the language of researchers, NGO’s, and the European Union, success is often measured in the appropriated terms of neo-liberal vocabulary: integration, development, modernization.

In view of this, through what lens and with whose vocabulary should change and transformation be understood and measured? This paper discusses both the ideal and the current reality of change in Roma communities through the voices of Roma Pentecostal leaders in Croatia and Serbia—with the view of defining human flourishing and change through the perspective of the Roma.

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