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Questioning Gypsy Identity: Ethnic Narratives in Britain and America (Hardback)
  • Questioning Gypsy Identity: Ethnic Narratives in Britain and America (Hardback)
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Questioning Gypsy Identity: Ethnic Narratives in Britain and America (Hardback)

(author)
£70.00
Hardback 212 Pages / Published: 07/03/2005
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Brian Belton's powerfully original book examines Gypsy lives against the framework of social theories that illustrate how identity arises out of the cultural complexity of individual biographies, families, and communities. Addressing the lack of contextual and social perspectives in the existing literature and the underlying assumption of a consistent Gypsy lineage, he explores the subject of identity to include the broader social context in which the population exists. He argues that Gypsy identity is created and maintained not only by tradition and heredity, but also by social and ideological factors that give rise to the 'ethnic narrative' of Gypsy identity. Growing up in an English Gypsy family, Belton offers a unique 'outsider-insider' perspective to Questioning Gypsy Identity, writing what are essentially stories of people_how they are made, their social force, and what they collectively create.

Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
ISBN: 9780759105324
Number of pages: 212
Weight: 449 g
Dimensions: 235 x 154 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Questioning Gypsy Identity is an extraordinary achievement and a supremely important contribution to our understanding of the construction of ethnic identities. Brian Belton writes with the authority of an insider yet at the same time challenges racial exoticism and cultural cliches that so often define Gypsies. After reading this book, no one will be able to use the word 'gypsy' without careful and reflective thinking. -- Les Back, Goldsmiths College, London, Goldsmiths College, London
Fascinating about this book is the eloquent way with which Brian Belton combines family history with academic reflection. By reading his work, one is able to discard old-fashioned ideas about the Rom or Gypsies. The book shatters myths that cloud our view on the lives of Travelers. The author offers an inclusive approach, and does not set Gypsies apart by means of exoticism, giving way to a new vision on their history and position in European and American societies. -- Wim Willems, University of Amsterdam
This is a fascinating book...offering an in-depth analysis of narrative as a useful method in social science for obtaining and understanding the self-identification of people, how others identify them, and how individuals and the 'generalized other' are mutually influenced. Questioning Gypsy Identity rejects romantic stereotypes of Gypsies, and demonstrates that group identities are social constructions. Brian Belton is a good storyteller, a graceful writer, and a scholar who has prepared a well-documented book. -- Charles V. Willie, Charles William Eliot Professor Emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education
This is an exciting and overdue book. The theme of ethnic identity is one which has permeated much academic writing over recent years and has been the source of endless theorising and conjecture. Yet too often, debates about Gypsy ethnicity have crudely adopted existing models and theories, without adequately acknowledging the complexity of Gypsy identity. This is where the value of this book lies. Belton systematically reviews existing work in this area and questions the notion of Gypsies as a homogenous group, critically challenging many of the existing theories of Gypsy identity. In particular, he emphasises that ethnicity is primarily a social construct, and one which has important wider implications for Gypsy communities. Belton's focus upon both Britain and America-coupled with a unique insider-outsider perspective-makes this book essential reading for anyone interested in Gypsy ethnicity, or ethnic identity more generally. -- Mark Liddiard, University of Kent, Canterbury
This volume focuses on a group woefully underrepresented in the race and ethnicity literature to ask broader questions about how academics have misused the concept of ethnicity by imposing their own caricatures on entire groups of people, resulting in research that is too often misrepresentative. Readers will delight in Brian Belton's seamless shifting between theory, observation, and personal experiences, which give this book the feel of narrative, rather than sterile discourse. It is evident that the questions in Questioning Gypsy Identity come not only from intellectual inquiry, but, perhaps more importantly, from the heart. -- Carol Ward and David Wilson, Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College

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