Research in Higher Education

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 64–82 | Cite as

Roma Undergraduates’ Personal Network in the Process of College Transition. A Social Capital Approach

  • Ágnes Lukács J.Email author
  • Beáta Dávid
Original Article


Roma university students’ personal networks become unstable in the process of college transition. We describe the personal networks of these students using the model set up by Brandes et al. (in: Proceedings of the IEEE pacific visualization symposium (Pacific Vis’08), IEEE Computer Society Press, 2008) and analyse the identified groups utilizing the social capital approach. We mapped seventy-six students’ networks applying contact diary. Origin, host and fellow groups significantly differ in their composition; they provide different (‘bonding’ or ‘bridging’) type of resources, and their availability to the Roma students is also different. We found significant differences between the students in their tendency to rely on certain groups in the process of academic adjustment.


Social capital Contact diary College transition Roma Integration Underrepresented minorities 



We would like to thank co-workers and students of the CRCN for participating in this study. We would also like to thank Éva Huszti and Tünde Szabó for their help in collecting network data.


  1. Antonio, A. L. (2004). The influence of friendship groups on intellectual self-confidence and Educational Aspirations in College. Journal of Higher Education, 75(4), 446–471. Scholar
  2. Antrop-González, R., Vélez, W., & Garrett, T. (2003). Where are the academically successful puerto rican students? Five success factors of high achieving puerto rican high school students. JSRI Working Paper #61, Michigan: The Julian Samora Research Institute, Michigan State University, East Lansing. Retrieved October 31, 2014, from
  3. Arnold, P., Ágyas, R., Héra, G., Katona, I., Kiss, J., & Mészáros, Z. (2011). Evaluation research of Romaversitas Hungary: Final study. Budapest: Kurt Lewin Foundation.Google Scholar
  4. Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297–308.Google Scholar
  5. Babusik, F. (2004). Legitimacy, statistics and research methodology—who is Romani in Hungary today and what are we (not) allowed to know about Roma. In D. Petrova (Ed.), Ethnic statistics (pp. 14–18). Budapest: European Roma Rights Center.Google Scholar
  6. Barany, Z. (2002). The East European Gypsies: Regime change, marginality, and ethnopolitics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bean, J. P. (1985). Interaction effects based on class level in an explanatory model of college student dropout syndrome. American Educational Research Journal, 22(1), 35–64. Scholar
  8. Beattie, R., & Thiele, M. (2016). Connecting in class?: College class size and inequality in academic social capital. The Journal of Higher Education, 87(3), 332–362. Scholar
  9. Biancani, S., & McFarland, D. A. (2013). Social networks research in higher education. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 151–216). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Bollen, K. A., & Hoyle, H. R. (1990). Perceived cohesion: A conceptual and empirical examination. Social Forces, 69(2), 479–504. Scholar
  11. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research of for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bowman, N. A., & Park, J. J. (2015). Not all diversity interactions are created equal: Cross-racial interaction, close interracial friendship, and college student outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 56(6), 601–621. Scholar
  13. Brandes, U., Lerner, J., Lubbers, M. J., McCarthy, C., & Molina, J. L. (2008). Visual statistics for collections of clustered graphs. In Proceedings of the IEEE pacific visualization symposium (Pacific Vis’08) (pp. 47–54). IEEE Computer Society Press.
  14. Braxton, J. M., Sullivan, A. V., & Johnson, R. M. (1997). Appraising Tinto’s theory of college student departure. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 107–164). New York: Agathon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Burt, R. S. (2004). Structural holes and good ideas. American Journal of Sociology, 110(2), 349–399. Scholar
  16. Carter, D. F., Locks, A. M., & Winkle-Wagner, R. (2013). From when and where i enter: theoretical and empirical considerations of minority students’ transition to college. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 93–149). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Cerna, O. S., Pérez, P. A., & Sáenz, V. (2009). Examining the precollege attributes and values of Latina/o bachelor’s degree attainers. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Scholar
  18. Clarke, C. G., & Antonio, A. L. (2012). Rethinking research on the impact of racial diversity in higher education. Review of Higher Education, 36(1), 25–50. Scholar
  19. Cole, D. (2007). Does interracial matter? An examination of student-faculty contact and intellectual self-concept. The Journal of Higher Education, 78(3), 249–281. Scholar
  20. Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95–S120. Scholar
  21. Csepeli, Gy., & Simon, D. (2004). Construction of Roma identity in Eastern and Central Europe: perception and self-identification. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(1), 129–150. Scholar
  22. Deed of Foundation of the Christian Roma College Network (CRCN). (2011). [Keresztény Roma Szakkollégiumi Hálózat (KRSZH) Alapító okirata, 17 March 2011, Budapest.]. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from
  23. Dávid, B., Huszti, É., Barna, I., & Fu, Y.-C. (2016). Egocentric contact networks in comparison: Taiwan and Hungary. Social Networks, 2016(44), 253–265. Scholar
  24. Dika, S. L., & Singh, K. (2002). Applications of social capital in educational literature: A crytical synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 72(1), 31–60. Scholar
  25. Dunajeva, J. (2015). Preface to the english special issue of Romology Journal. Romológia, 2015(10), 1–2.Google Scholar
  26. Erickson, B. (2003). Social networks: The value of variety. Contexts, 2(1), 25–31. Scholar
  27. Fu, Y.-C. (2005). Measuring personal networks with daily contacts: A single-item survey question and the contact diary. Social Networks, 27(3), 169–186. Scholar
  28. Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78(6), 1360–1380.Google Scholar
  29. Hausmann, L. R., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2007). Sense of belonging as a predictor of intention to persist among African American and white first-year college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 803–839. Scholar
  30. Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO). Population Census 2011. Data on National, Ethnic Affiliation. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from
  31. Hurtado, S., & Carter, D. F. (1997). Effects of college transition and perceptions of the campus racial climate on Latino college students’ sense of belonging. Sociology of Education, 70(4), 324–345. Scholar
  32. Hurtado, S., Carter, D. F., & Spuler, A. (1996). Latino student transition to college: Assessing difficulties and factors in successful college adjustment. Research in Higher Education, 37(2), 135–157. Scholar
  33. Hurtado, S., Han, J. C., Sáenz, V. B., Espinosa, L., Cabrera, N., & Cerna, O. (2007). Predicting transition and adjustment to college: Biomedical and behavioural science aspirants’ and minority students’ first year of college. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 841–887. Scholar
  34. Johnson, D. R., Soldner, M., Brown Leonard, J., Alvarez, P., Kurotsuchi Inkelas, K., Rowan-Kenyon, H., et al. (2007). Examining sense of belonging among first year undergraduates from different racial/ethnic groups. Journal of College Student Development, 48(5), 525–542.Google Scholar
  35. Kemény, I. (2005). History of Roma in Hungary. In I. Kemény (Ed.), Roma of Hungary (pp. 1–69). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Kemény, I., & Janky, B. (2005). Roma population of Hungary 1971–2003. In I. Kemény (Ed.), Roma of Hungary (pp. 70–225). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Kende, A. (2007). Success stories? Roma University students overcoming social exclusion in Hungary. In H. Colley, B. Hoskins, T. Parveva, & P. Boetzelen (Eds.), Social inclusion for young people. Breaking down the barriers (pp. 133–144). Strasbourg: Council of Europe.Google Scholar
  38. Kende, A., & Neményi, M. (2006). Selection in education: The case of Roma children in Hungary. Equal Opportunities International, 25(7), 506–526. Scholar
  39. Kertesi, G., & Kézdi, G. (2011a). Roma employment in Hungary after the post-communist transition. Economics of Transition, 19(3), 563–610. Scholar
  40. Kertesi, G., & Kézdi, G. (2011b). The Roma/non-Roma test score gap in Hungary. American Economic Review, 101(3), 519–525. Scholar
  41. Kyuchukov, H. (2000). Transformative education for Roma (Gypsy) children: An insider’s view. Intercultural Education, 11(3), 273–280. Scholar
  42. Ladányi, J., & Szelényi, I. (2006). Patterns of exclusion: Constructing Gypsy ethnicity and the making of an underclass. Boulder: East European Monographs.Google Scholar
  43. Lehmann, W. (2014). Habitus transformation and hidden injuries: Successful working-class University Students. Sociology of Education, 87(1), 1–15. Scholar
  44. Lin, N. (2008). A network theory of social capital. In D. Castiglione, J. W. van Deth, & G. Wolleb (Eds.), The handbook of social capital (pp. 50–69). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Lin, N., & Dumin, M. (1986). Access to occupations through social ties. Social Networks, 8(4), 365–385. Scholar
  46. Locks, A. M., Hurtado, S., Bowman, M. A., & Oseguera, L. (2008). Extending notions of campus climate and diversity to students’ transition to college. The Review of Higher Education, Spring, 31(3), 257–285. Scholar
  47. Lukács, Á., & Dávid, B. (2015). Gypsy University Students’ Network Composition from the Social Capital Approach. In Paper presented at the annual meeting for Sunbelt XXXV. International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA), Brighton, UK, 23–28 June 2015.Google Scholar
  48. Marsden, P. V., & Campbell, K. (2012). Reflections on conceptualizing and measuring tie strength. Social Forces, 91(1), 17–23. Scholar
  49. Meeuwisse, M., Severiens, S. E., & Born, M Ph. (2010). Learning environment, interaction, sense of belonging and study success in ethnically diverse student groups. Researh in Higher Education, 51(6), 528–545. Scholar
  50. Messing, V. (2008). Good practices addressing school integration of Roma/Gypsy children in Hungary. Intercultural Education, 19(5), 461–473.Google Scholar
  51. Molina, J. L., Petermann, S., & Herz, A. (2015). Defining and measuring transnational social structures. Field Methods, 27(3), 223–243. Scholar
  52. Museus, S. D., & Neville, K. M. (2012). Delineating the ways that key institutional agents provide racial minority students with access to social capital in college. Journal of College Student Development, 53(3), 436–452. Scholar
  53. Newcomb, T. M. (1962). Student peer-group influence. In N. Sanford (Ed.), The American college: A psychological and social interpretation of the higher learning (pp. 469–488). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  54. Nora, A. (2001). The depiction of significant others in Tinto’s “Rites of Passage”: A reconceptualization of the influence of family and community in the persistence process. Journal of College Student Retention, 3(1), 41–56. Scholar
  55. Nunez, A. M. (2009). Latino students’ transitions to college: A social and intercultural capital perspective. Harvard Educational Review, 79(1), 22–48. Scholar
  56. O’Nions, H. (2010). Different and unequal: The educational segregation of Roma pupils in Europe. Intercultural Education, 21(1), 1–13. Scholar
  57. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  58. Perna, L. W., & Titus, M. (2005). The relationship between parental involvement as social capital and college enrollment: An examination of racial/ethnic group differences. Journal of Higher Education, 76(5), 485–518. Scholar
  59. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1–24. Scholar
  60. Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work. Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Ream, R. K., & Stanton-Salazar, R. D. (2007). The mobility/social capital dynamic: Understanding Latino families and students. In S. J. Paik & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), Minority children and youth: Families, schools, communities, and learning (pp. 67–89). Illinois: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  62. Rendon, L., Jalomo, R., & Nora, A. (2000). Theoretical considerations in the study of minority student retention in higher education. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp. 127–156). Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Rios-Aguilar, C., & Deil-Amen, R. (2012). Beyond Getting in and Fitting in: An examination of social networks and professionally relevant social capital among Latina/o University Students. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11(2), 179–196. Scholar
  64. Smith, B. (2007). Accessing social capital through the academic mentoring process. Equity and Excellence in Education, 40(1), 36–46. Scholar
  65. Soucy, N., & Larose, S. (2000). Attachment and control in family and mentoring contexts as determinants of adolescent adjustment at college. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(1), 125–143. Scholar
  66. Stanton-Salazar, R. D. (2001). Manufacturing hope and despair: The school and kin support networks of U.S.-Mexican youth. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  67. Stanton-Salazar, R. (2004). Social capital among working-class minority students. In M. Gibson, P. Gandara, & J. Peterson Koyama (Eds.), School connections: U.S. Mexican Youth, Peers, and School Achievement (pp. 18–38). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  68. Stanton-Salazar, R. D. (2010). A social capital framework for the study of institutional agents and their role in the empowerment of low-status students and youth. Youth & Society, 10(5), 1–44. Scholar
  69. Stanton-Salazar, R. D., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1995). Social capital and the reproduction of inequality: Information networks among mexican-origin high school students. Sociology of Education, 68(2), 116–135. Scholar
  70. Strayhorn, T. L. (2012). College students’ sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Szabóné Kármán, J. (2012). A magyarországi roma/cigány értelmiség histográfiája, helyzete, mentális állapota. [History, Status and Mental Health of the Hungarian Roma/Gypsy Intellectual]. Budapest: Gondolat Kiadó.Google Scholar
  72. Terenzini, P. T., Rendón, L. I., Upcraft, M. L., Millar, S. B., Allison, K. W., Gregg, P. L., et al. (1994). The transition to college: Diverse students, diverse stories. Research in Higher Education, 35(1), 57–73. Scholar
  73. Thomas, S. (2000). Ties that bind: A social network approach to understanding student integration and persistence. Journal of Higher Education, 71(5), 591–615. Scholar
  74. Tierney, W. G. (2000). Power, identity and the dilemma of college student departure. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp. 213–256). Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cues of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  76. Tinto, V. (1998). Colleges as communities: Taking research on student persistence seriously. The Review of Higher Education, 21(2), 167–177.Google Scholar
  77. Tóth, K. D. (2005). Comparative study on the identity types of ‘Successful’ gypsies/travellers in Hungary and in England. European Integration Studies, 4(2), 121–130.Google Scholar
  78. Van Driel, B. (1999). The Gandhi Secondary School: An experiment in Roma education. European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 10(2), 173–182. Scholar
  79. Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  80. Weidman, J. C. (2006). Socialization of students in higher education: Organizational perspectives. In C. Conrad & R. C. Serlin (Eds.), The sage handbook for research in education: Engaging ideas and enriching inquiry (pp. 253–262). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  81. Winkle-Wagner, R. (2009). The perpetual homelessness of college experiences: The tensions between home and campus for African American Women. The Review of Higher Education, 33(1), 1–36. Scholar
  82. Wolf-Wendel, L., Ward, K., & Kinzie, J. (2009). A tangled web of terms: The overlap and unique contribution of involvement, engagement, and integration to understanding college student success. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 407–428. Scholar
  83. Zepke, N., & Leach, L. (2005). Integration and adaptation: Approaches to the student retention and achievement puzzle. Active Learning in Higher Education, 6(1), 46–59. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mental Health, Faculty of Health and Public ServicesSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social SciencesBudapestHungary

Personalised recommendations