Urban Communities, the strategies for adapting to the urban environment and children

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Different communities of minorities and new-comers have chosen different strategies for adapting to the urban environment. Despite the differences there are three basic patterns: the labour-migration model, multicultural and assimilative strategies137. The strategy of Slovak community seems to be assimilative; the Poles are tending to multicultural strategy.

The situation of Vietnamese community is not so clear. It depends on general attitude to consider the Czech Republic as transit or destination country. The decision of the first generation immigrants depends on the success of integration, intensity of contacts with the major society and the last

136 Por. J. Petrucijova, M. Mečiar, Cultural Citizenship in the Context of the EU. The Attitudes and Views of the Teachers of Civic Education in the Region of North Moravia and Silesia of the Czech Republic. [w:] A Europe of Many Cultures, Braga/London 2003, s. 383-388.

137 Por. Z. Uherek, Cizinecké komunity..., dz. cyt., s. 193-216.

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but not the least the bonds of the young generation with the country, where it has undergone the enculturation and socialisation. Due to school attendance and lingual competences children become a medium of the contacts between community and major society, especially in written contacts, or they play the roles of interpreters. As a distinct ethnic community Vietnamese may be confronted with isolation (so called diasporic identity), which may be compensated by ethnic mobilisation, internal solidarity and follow-up social tension138.

The situation of Romani children is worrying. The Governmental Report about the state of Roma community in the Czech Republic (2011)139 indicates that the major part of Roma community is affected by the social exclusion.

Despite of governmental programmes to stop intergenerational transmission of the social exclusion within community, affirmative efforts are not effective and successful, so the chances of socially disadvantaged Romani children to enjoy ‘standard life conditions’ in their adulthood are very low.

As Wieviorka insists:”Those who are “out” or fear to be, have a feeling of injustice and loss of previous social identity”140, that results in group mobilization and strengthening intra-group solidarity. Solidarity provides compensation for social isolation in one’s domicile141. On one hand, ethnic mobilization is often a reaction of communities (including ethnic minorities and immigrants) to their experience of social, cultural and political exclusion. On the other hand, such mobilization might worsen the division of society by strengthening, particularly

138 U. Hannerz argues that openness and inclusiveness vs closeness and exclusiveness should be con-sidered both as the strategies of individual behaviour and the group strategies. Por. U. Hannerz, The global ecumeme as a network of networks, [w:] Conceptualizing Society, red. A. Kuper, London 1992, s. 40-41.

139 Por. Sociální vyloučení Romů se nelepší, děti na tom budou podobně, http://www.ceskatelevize.

cz/ct24/domaci/138689-socialni-vylouceni-romu-se-nelepsi-deti-na-tom-budou-podobne/

[6.10.2011].

140 Por. Racisme et xénophobie en Europe. Une comparaison international, red. M. Wieviorka, P. Bataille i in., Paris 1994, s. 179. Cited by: P. Hopper, Globalization, Identity and Conflict in Con-temporary Europe, [w:] Conflict and Identity, Olomouc 2001, s. 96-97.

141 Por. R. Kastoryano, La France, l’Allemagne, et leurse immigrés: Négocier l’identité, Paris 1996, s. 106-111; S. Castles, A. Davidson, Citizenship and migration: Globalization and the politics of belonging, London 2000, s. 112.

so in case of the majority society, the fear of separatism and leads to rediscovering

‘old certainty’142 and collective identification in the form of ethnic, racial and national identities, i.e. might lead to new forms of tribalist behavior143 connected with ethno-national revival and even racist activities. The recent events in the North-Bohemian part of the Czech Republic example the culminated tension between Roma community and major society. The Ministry of Interior warns against the danger of misuse the situation by the radical, extremist community of youngsters144. The reasons of the conflict may be seem in the growing up social uncertainty (unemployment and its consequences) as a result current economical crisis145. The racist acts came out both groups (Roma and major ones). The events have incensed the whole society and have shown again the necessity to combat racism.

142 In the opinion of Z. Bauman, in the time of globalization social life is characterised by change, differentiation and fragmentation which in turn fosters uncertainty. While the predominant re-spond has been to resort to individualistic strategies and to focus upon the private realm, these conditions it is claimed contribute to the retreat in tribalist pattern of behaviour. Por. Z. Bauman, Morality in the Age of Contingency, [w:] Detraditionalization, red. P. Heelas i in., Oxford 1996, s. 49-58.

143 The definition of tribalism used here is taken from M. Horsman, A. Marshall, After the Nation-State: Citizens, tribalism and the New Word Disorder (1994). They consider it to be the retreat by individuals into communities defined by „similarities of religion, culture, ethnicity, or some other shared experience“, p. X.

144 Por. Analýza vnitra varuje: šluknovské násilí může přeskočit do dalších regionů, http://www.

novinky.cz/domaci/249681-analyza-vnitra-varuje-sluknovske-nasili-muze-preskocit-do-dal-sich-regionu.html [7.11.2011]. The open confrontation between Roma community members and major population of Děčin region (the North-Bohemian part of the Czech Republic) took place in August – October 2011. The troops of the Ministry of the Interior were sent for regula-tion of conflict.

145 Compare with: W. Heitmeyer, J. Hagan, The International Handbook of Violence Research, Dor-drecht 2003. Having analysed the reasons of the rise of racial violence in eastern part of Germany, a phenomenon mainly perpetrated by young people, Wilhelm Heitmeyer (2003) considers this to be a result of a process of individualization that modern society like Germany has undergone.

The former GDR region has undergone massive economic restricting in the transformation to market society provoking widespread uncertainty now that the securities the people once had as citizens of the GDR in terms of job and public housing are disappearing. As Heitmeyer puts it: “When natural social membership and acceptance disintegrate to such an extent that the only certainty of being German remains, then violence is given a direction”. Por. W. Heitmeyer, J.

Hagan, The International…, dz. cyt., s. 27.

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Conclusion

The situation of children in the Czech cities is influenced by the general context of urban life, intra-group relations within urban communities and inter-group relations between urban communities. Comparison analysis of three selected communities (Slovak, Vietnamese and Romany) shows the tendency of children to reproduce different strategies for adapting to the urban environment which are mostly typical for their parents. The strategy of Slovak community seems to be assimilative. Due to school attendance and gained lingual competences Vietnamese children become medium of the contacts between their community and major society. The situation of Romani children is worrying. The major part of the Romani community faces the danger of social exclusion. The governmental affirmative efforts to stop intergenerational transmission of the social exclusion within community are not effective and successful.

School as an integration agent has a positive role in all mentioned communities.

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Edukacja i wychowanie.

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