OUT OF PLACE IN THE COUNTRY: TRAVELLERS AND THE “RURAL IDYLL”

Authors


Abstract

A controversial new Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in Great Britain contains measures to curb the lifestyles of a group known collectively as “New Age Travellers”. This paper examines these travellers as “folk devils” of the Conservative “New Right” on a number of levels: their lifestyle does not conform to that espoused by authoritarian or libertarian Conservatism; moreover, they violate the spatial order of contemporary British society by trespassing against the dominant social representation of the countryside — the “rural idyll”. In Parliamentary debates speakers drew on the rural idyll to defend the exclusivity of access to the countryside. Notably, whilst Gypsies were seen as having a legitimate if highly marginalized position in the rural representation, few saw any place for New Age travellers.

Ancillary