Gypsy-Travellers: stigmatisation
and social integration
Ryan Powell
Conflict in space and place - accommodation and
planning issues for Gypsies and Travellers, De Montfort
University, Leicester, November 29th, 2012.
Contested Gypsy-Traveller
community

shared aspects of culture

shared space of the site

common response from government and authorities

BUT...heterogeneity and disidentification among different
groups
Social integration?

Not straightforward; binaries can be unhelpful









inclusion/ exclusion
social care/ social control
integration/ assimilation
What's the problem with segregation? What's to be achieved by
reducing it? (Flint, 2009)
positive and enabling factors of segregation
strengths and weaknesses of spatial concentration (Marcuse,
1997; Wacquant, 2004, 2008)
integration on whose terms?
importance of a long-term, historical perspective i.e. persistent
persecution and stigma
'mixing without integration' (Sibley, 1998)
 functional interdependence; unequal power relations; mutual
avoidance
Gypsy-Travellers perceived to be at
odds with dominant norms

social integration = individualization and self-betterment

group orientation of Gypsy-Travellers






extended family and socialisation
inter-generational mixing
educational differences
remarkable resistance and cultural continuity in the face of
pressures to conform
resistance and maintenance of culture and nomadism deemed
"less civilised"
Gypsy-Travellers treated as inferior; of lesser human worth - key
question is why and how is this so persistent?
Learning from the "ghetto"?

2 key and related questions:
 why does the stigmatisation of Gypsy-Travellers run so deep and
persistent over the last 500 years?
 how have Gypsy-Travellers maintained their own identity and
culture?

Loïc Wacquant's concept of the "ghetto" as a tool of comparison
(Powell, 2013)

Gypsy-Traveller sites are NOT ghettos

BUT...commonalities....a weapon of 'confinement and control' for
the dominant and an 'integrative and protective device' for the
stigmatized
Commonalities with Wacquant's ghetto

spatial confinement and control

ethnic homogeneity

retreat into the sphere of the family

mutual distancing

shared cultural identity reinforced through confinement
Divergence from Wacquant's ghetto?

changing economic function?

parallel institutionalism?

relationship with the state?

the above represent areas for further research that could
enhance understanding through comparative analyses
with Wacquant's theoretical concept of the "ghetto"
References

Flint, J. (2009) 'Cultures, ghettos and camps: sites of exception and antagonism in the city',
Housing Studies, 24(4), pp.417-431.

Marcuse, P. (1997) 'The enclave, the citadel, and the ghetto: what has changed in the post-Fordist
US city', Urban Affairs Review, 33(2), pp.228-264.

Powell, R. (2013, forthcoming) 'Loïc Wacquant's "ghetto" and ethnic minority segregation in the
UK: the neglected case of Gypsy-Travellers', IJURR.

Sibley, D. (1998) 'Problematizing exclusion: reflections on space, difference and knowledge',
International planning studies, 3, pp. 93-100.

Wacquant, L. (2004) ‘Ghetto’, International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural
Sciences.

Wacquant, L. (2008) ‘Ghettos and anti-ghettos: An anatomy of the new urban poverty’, Thesis
Eleven, 94, pp.113-118.

Wacquant, L. (2012) 'A janus-faced institution of ethnoracial closure: a sociological specification of
the ghetto', in Hutchison, R. and Haynes, B. D. (eds) The Ghetto: Contemporary Global Issues
and Controversies (pp.1-32). Boulder: Westview.
Descargar

Ryan-Powell-stigmatisation-and-social-integration