The Eternal Wanders
: Social Representations of Gypsy/Travellers

  • Lynne Tammi

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Community Learning and Development


    This research adds a unique insider perspective to the limited available data on the impact that (negative) social representations have on the ability of Gypsy/Travellers to access public services and provision on a basis of equality. Unlike traditional ‘writings of culture’ this research utilises a critical ethnography approach to give testimony to participants’ lived experiences and advocate for social change.

    Employing the concepts of social representation (Moscovici, 1963) and symbolic violence (Bourdieu, 1989) the research reveals the depth of the prejudice and discrimination experienced by Gypsy/Travellers and exposes the long lived, historical accounts – the Gypsy/Traveller as the criminal, the dirty, dangerous, and dishonest individual – which assist in the construction of a narrative that establishes individuals or groups as outsiders.

    Having identified the drivers of, and the responses to, the persistent and prevailing negative attitudes towards Gypsy/Travellers, the research discusses the role of social representations in establishing, taken for granted, or doxic, ideas and attitudes towards Gypsy/Travellers, how those ideas and attitudes are embodied in policy making processes and how they shape interactions (and indeed policy and practice) between those responsible for service delivery and the Gypsy/Traveller community.

    The research concludes with a summary of key findings and recommendations directed towards decision makers at local and national level.
    Date of Award2020
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorFernando Lannes Fernandes (Supervisor), Ann Swinney (Supervisor) & Sharon Jackson (Supervisor)


    • Gypsy/Travellers
    • Social Representations
    • Symbolic Violence

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