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“Where Can a Gypsy Stop?” Rethinking Mobility in Scotland



Abstract:  This article examines mobile practices of Scottish Gypsy/Travellers and analyses how their mobility affects their socio-spatial access to participation within Scottish society. It explores how different representations of mobility set up boundaries and limitations on travel, unravels everyday practices of mobility by Gypsy Travellers and discusses their embeddedness within Scottish society and culture. The discussion draws on empirical research results to assess attempts to accommodate mobile practices of Travellers within existing structures of political and economic organisation. It exposes dominant “punctual” understanding of movement, which lacks information about what happens during the move and overlooks important elements of ambulant lifestyles. Findings from this study suggest that formalised definitions of travel privilege specific forms of mobility to the neglect of the others and serve to perpetuate the marginalised identities of itinerant people. The paper concludes with theoretically informed observations about the new ways of re-connecting policies tackling disadvantage with mobility.