Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Twisting Path to Adulthood: Roma/Cigano Youth in Urban Portugal

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Abstract:  While there is a growing body of research on Ciganos/Roma in Portugal, little is known about how Cigano youth transition into adulthood. In this article, we address this gap by drawing on a qualitative study on the transitions of young Ciganos living in Cascais, a coastal municipality in the Lisbon district. Using a multi‐method approach, we explore the life course trajectories of Cigano youth within the areas of education, livelihoods, and marriage, and how these areas shape their transition experiences. The empirical material shows that the transition into adulthood of Cigano youth is influenced by broader structural and socio‐cultural factors. Processes of socialization, ethnicity, and gender restrict young Ciganos’ participation in education and formal labor markets, which increases their vulnerability to marginalization and exclusion in society. Cigano youth, however, initiate different pathways in their life trajectories to achieve adulthood. By focusing on the voices of Cigano youth, we challenge the homogenization of their lives in Portugal and highlight how social age and linked lives shape their transitions into adulthood.

Keywords:  Cigano/Roma; education; linked lives; marriage; social age; youth transition



© Judite Ie, Marit Ursin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.