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‘Insubordinate Irish’Travellers in the Text$
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Mícheál Ó hAodha

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719083044

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719083044.001.0001

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The Traveller colonised

The Traveller colonised

(p.9) 2 The Traveller colonised
‘Insubordinate Irish’

Mícheál Ó hAodha

Manchester University Press

Gypsy and Traveller cultures were of particular fascination to the Gypsy Lore Society (GLS)'s members. The trope of the ‘doomed primitive’ is still a vibrant designation as attributed to many minorities today, certain traditionally nomadic groups, such as the Roma Gypsies and the ‘indigenous’ Traveller groups included. The raison-d'être of the GLS was deemed a very appropriate and timely project, and this attitude would underlie the intellectual projects and energies of those intellectuals who shaped the folkloristic discourse that was the GLS. The Irish Travellers were considered one of the ‘lowest’ groups on the exotic and cultural purity scales created by the Gypsilorists. The temptation to explain Traveller origins fitted into the ‘racial purity’ and exoticist hierarchy of the Gypsilorists. Groups campaigning for social rights and cultural autonomy for Gypsies and Travellers are increasingly reassessing the role that the Gypsilorist tradition played in the perpetuation of erroneous stereotypes and myths.

Keywords:   Irish Travellers, Gypsy Lore Society, Roma Gypsies, Gypsilorists, racial purity, exoticist hierarchy, social rights, cultural autonomy

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