Understanding the stigmatization of gypsies : power and the dialectics of (dis)identification

POWELL, Ryan (2008). Understanding the stigmatization of gypsies : power and the dialectics of (dis)identification. Housing, Theory and Society, 25 (2), 87-109.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14036090701657462
Link to published version:: 10.1080/14036090701657462

Abstract

Most theorizations on the stigmatization of Gypsies have centred on structural factors: issues of race, ethnicity, the role of the media and the general incompatibility of nomadism with a sedentary mode of existence. This paper contends that a focus on the power differentials which characterize everyday social relations between Gypsies and the settled population can enhance our understanding of the stigmatization of the former. It argues that stigmatization is manifest in the ongoing process of disidentification, which involves the related processes of projection and the exaggeration of stereotypical constructions of threatening “Others”. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias an attempt at a theoretical synthesis is made that emphasizes the centrality of the power differential in social relations between the two groups, which is a key factor in enabling and maintaining effective stigmatization. The paper focuses on the dialectics of identification articulated by Gypsies in relation to their perceived collective similarity and difference, which is crucial in understanding their marginal position in British society. Using empirical data, the paper then explores the ways in which power differentials shape the social relations between Gypsies and the settled population, and how stigmatization serves as a potent weapon in maintaining the weak position of British Gypsies.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Identification Number: 10.1080/14036090701657462
Depositing User: Hilary Ridgway
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2012 12:10
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2012 12:10
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4702

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