Gypsy Intermediaries Guide the Stranger: Bringing Reciprocity, Some Misunderstanding, but Protection from Outsiders

Authors

  • Judith Okely University of Oxford, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/jgs.v1i1.530

Keywords:

Controversy, fieldwork, ethnography, associates, outsiders

Abstract

An independent Gypsy and policy project inspired unexpected controversy from both the Research Centre and State. Committed to ethnographic long-term fieldwork, the anthropologist eventually succeeded in living on Gypsy sites. She was guided by key individuals- here recalled, celebrated and contextualized. These Associates were all literate in a then largely non-literate culture. As intermediaries, they could point to specific challenges across the cultural divide. The future author, wherever possible, hoped to reciprocate their gifts of knowledge and know-how. Select readings of early “Gypsiologists” and pioneering anthropologists proved insightful. Countering populist stereotypes in the dominant majority society, all the Gypsies encountered in fieldwork were protectors of that young woman. This was in contrast to a few maverick outsiders, invariably from other disciplines, who seemingly resented a female intruder on “their” territory and specialism.

EDITORS' NOTE: This is a revised version of the paper following a minor editorial redaction dated 20/06/2017. 

Author Biography

Judith Okely, University of Oxford, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography

Judith Okely (MA, D.Phil Oxford) is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Hull University and Honorary Research Associate, School of Anthropology, Oxford University. Her books include The Traveller Gypsies, Simone de Beauvoir: a Re-Reading, Own or Other Culture, co-edited volumes and many articles. She has done fieldwork in Western Ireland, England and France (Ethnos 2001). In 2011 she was awarded the seal of Pilsen City, and an honorary medal of West Bohemia University, Czech Republic. She was selected as a Pioneer of Qualitative Social Research, ESDA UK.

Published

2017-05-01

How to Cite

Okely, J. (2017). Gypsy Intermediaries Guide the Stranger: Bringing Reciprocity, Some Misunderstanding, but Protection from Outsiders. Journal of Gypsy Studies, 1(1), 65-84. https://doi.org/10.33182/jgs.v1i1.530

Issue

Section

Articles