‘I wouldn’t change to be anything else’: Poor health and its problem for personal identity in Gypsy and Traveller Community accounts of health

Forster, Natalie (2017) ‘I wouldn’t change to be anything else’: Poor health and its problem for personal identity in Gypsy and Traveller Community accounts of health. In: British Sociological Association Conference, 4-6 April 2017, Manchester.

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Traveller Communities are noted to experience significant inequalities in health and access to health services. Gypsies and Travellers occupy a position on the margins of society and portrayals of Traveller Community lifestyles as 'other' within popular media regularly serve to reinforce the exclusion of these groups. Existing research on Traveller Community health has tended to prioritise consideration of how Gypsies and Travellers speak from a position of belonging to their particular ethnic or cultural group, offering concrete and universal claims about Traveller Community health beliefs and practices. Little research has examined how accounts of Traveller Community health are socially produced, or the ways that wider identities may intersect with identity as a Gypsy or Traveller in health narratives. This paper reports on the findings of ongoing PhD research using poststructuralist informed narrative methodology and involving interviews with Traveller Community members and health practitioners. This approach enabled attention to the ways that societal discourses create limits and possibilities for expressions of Traveller Community health identities, as well as how practitioners and Traveller Communities worked within these discourses to present accounts of themselves and each other. Findings illustrate a key identity tension for participants as they sought to personally reconcile competing public health discourses which on the one hand advocate the moral imperative of health and on the other portray Gypsies and Travellers as unhealthy by definition. The ways that participants engaged in the restor(y)ing of health identities inscribed by dominant discourses will also be described.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Natalie Forster
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 08:25
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2017 13:20
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/31084

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