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Lidia GheorghiuLIdia Gheorghiu
Aston University

Cliques as structures and practices - shaping boundaries and outcomes in Roma policy networks

The Roma population has become a policy issue highly debated in the European Union. It is debated whether Romania is capable of using development funds effectively. Analysing three case studies, this paper looks at policy implementation in relation to the role of Roma networks in different geographical regions of Romania. Viewing responses to the Roma problem as a ‘wicked’ policy issue, it gives insights about how to get things done in complex, network settings.

This paper deploys the concept of social/institutional entrepreneurs to analyse how key actors influence clique and alliance formation and functioning. Carrying two roles in the Roma network – as part of the administration and non-governmental organizations - entrepreneurs detect administrative holes (Butler, 2003) and use both positions to leverage the gaps in the system. Significantly, by contrasting three case studies, it shows that both closed cliques and open alliances help to achieve public policy network objectives.


After achieving a degree in Sociology, a Masters’ in Human Rights and Human Values, Post Graduate Course in Judiciary Psychology, plus Certificates in Social Work, Community Work, and Teaching in Higher Education, Lidia is waiting to defend her PhD thesis in Management in October.

Her professional career started in Romania. As a Social Worker and Programme Coordinator, she worked in different non-governmental organizations and at the City Hall. Seeing how public policies are implemented in disadvantaged communities and what needs they have encouraged her to study equal rights at the University of Birmingham.

Her dissertation made a parallel between the situation of vulnerable children who were discriminated against and the international standards. Following this, during her PhD at Aston University, Birmingham, she analysed the network of governmental and nongovernmental institutions that implement policies for the Roma population in Romania, an ethnic minority fighting poverty and social exclusion,

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