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Gypsies and Travellers Peter Somerville 29 th November 2012.

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1 Gypsies and Travellers Peter Somerville 29 th November 2012

2 Sedentarism versus nomadism Nomadism – a type of habitus with no fixed abode/residence/dwellingplace Sedentarism – a world-wide phenomenon based on ‘Othering’ of nomadism as an alien habitus. Nomads are seen as: – Having no history of their own – A culture that does not change – Morally inferior – Parasitical on the sedentary world

3 Gypsies/Travellers and community Gypsies/Travellers: Are a distinct set of communities with no fixed abode (broadly nomadic) Do not easily fit within gorgio conceptions of community, which are based on territory and/or interest Have successfully claimed to be an ethnic group but comprise a variety of ethnicities Are seen by gorgios as ‘beyond the margins’

4 Beyond the margins? Are Gypsies and Travellers really beyond the margins of mainstream society? Gypsies and Travellers have been effectively excluded from urban areas, and driven to the rural periphery Gypsies and Travellers do not fit easily within rural society BUT Gypsies and Travellers are NOT beyond the margins, e.g. employment, health, education

5 Gypsies and Travellers in the English countryside Gypsies and Travellers are not recognised as a distinct ethnic group by rural researchers. E.g. Cloke (2006): shows how ethnic minorities are constructed as ‘out of place’ in the countryside but does not mention G&Ts; other ethnic minorities have their ‘place’ in the city but G/Ts appear to have no place at all Askins (2009): does not mention G&Ts as one of her ‘visible communities’ (despite being, arguably, one of the most visible!), so G&Ts would appear to be ‘invisible’ for rural researchers Panelli et al (2009): recognise the existence of ‘Indigenous’ groups in some parts of the world (Alaska, British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand), some of whom are nomadic, but do not effectively distinguish between indigeneity and nomadism; they go some way towards ‘de-centring White ruralities’ but not towards de- centring sedentarism Gypsies and Travellers are largely ignored by mainstream (sedentarist) rural policy and rural policy research (e.g. Clark et al, 2007; Shortall, 2008; Woods, 2011) Reed (2008): recognises the diversity of protest movements in the countryside but does not mention the sedentarist ‘movement’ to ignore or exclude or annihilate Gypsies and Travellers from the countryside All planning law and regulation involves the enforcement and reinforcement of sedentarist assumptions

6 Conclusion It doesn’t have to be like this – sedentary and nomadic peoples have lived and worked alongside one another quite successfully in different parts of the world in different historical periods Sedentarist attitudes need to be challenged wherever possible, criticised and exposed as ideological, prejudicial, discriminatory, unjust and oppressive Otherwise mainstream (or gorgio) policy and practice will continue to work systematically to the disadvantage of Gypsies and Travellers

7 References Askins, K. (2009) ‘Crossing divides: ethnicity and rurality’, Journal of Rural Studies 25: Clark, D., Southern, R. and Beer, J. (2007) ‘Rural governance, community empowerment and the new institutionalism: a case study of the Isle of Wight’, Journal of Rural Studies 23: Cloke, P. (2006) ‘Rurality and racialised others: out of place in the countryside?’ in Cloke, P., Marsden, T., Mooney, P. (eds) Handbook of Rural Studies. London: Sage: Panelli, R., Hubbard, P., Coombes, B. and Suchet-Pearson, S. (2009) ‘De- centring White ruralities: ethnic diversity, racialisation and Indigenous countrysides’, Journal of Rural Studies 25: Reed, M. (2008) ‘The rural arena: the diversity of protest in rural England’, Journal of Rural Studies 24: Shortall, S. (2008) ‘Are rural development programmes socially inclusive? Social inclusion, civic engagement, participation, and social capital: exploring the differences’, Journal of Rural Studies 24: Woods, M. (2011) Rural. London: Routledge


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