Marginalisation and the voices of Gypsy/Traveller girls
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Marcus, G. (2015) Marginalisation and the voices of Gypsy/Traveller girls. CORERJ: Cambridge Open-Review Educational Research e-Journal, 2, pp. 55-77.
Amnesty International has accused the media and Scotland’s 32 local authorities of perpetuating discrimination against Gypsy/Travellers declaring, “despite four inquiries by the Scottish Equal Opportunities Committee over the last 12 years, little or no progress has been made” (AIUK, 2013, p. 1). The Scottish Government’s (2010a) Race Equality Statement (2009) acknowledges that Gypsy/Travellers are “a particularly discriminated against and marginalised group”. Despite an extensive catalogue of legislation, policies, and recommendations, our comprehension of Gypsy/Travellers is underdeveloped. The ESRC and the Scottish Government2 have provided funding for a doctoral research project that broadly aims to enhance an understanding of the experiences of Scottish Gypsy/Travellers. Interpretations of the image and lives of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland are riddled with misperceptions, myths and assumptions based on stereotypical definitions of difference. The propagation of these images continues to contribute to the orchestration of interventionist policies that seek to “civilise” people into assimilation with the majority settled population. I am in the third year of my doctoral studies, in the process of analysing fieldwork data. This paper draws attention to preliminary findings from in-depth interviews with Scottish Gypsy/Traveller girls about their educational experiences, recognising that their voices are missing from the literature. In this paper, the girls’ accounts are highlighted and juxtaposed alongside the general problems encountered by Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland, and reveal a complex narrative. Space, race, gender, culture and poverty appear to intersect where barriers continue to exist. Equally, discrepancies in levels of empowerment, public participation, media representations and respect for ethnicity are experienced at these intersections.