Questioning Gypsy Identity

Ethnic Narratives in Britain and America

By (author) Brian A. Belton

Publication date:

07 March 2005

Length of book:

212 pages

Publisher

AltaMira Press

ISBN-13: 9780759105324

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.
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.