PLACE INVADERS: CONSTRUCTING THE NOMADIC THREAT IN ENGLAND*

Authors


  • *

    This article derives from my dissertation, completed in 2007 in the Department of Geography at the University of California–Los Angeles. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and Craig Colten for his careful reading and guidance throughout the revision process. I would also like to thank Michael Curry, Nick Howe, and Claudia Brazzale for their comments on earlier versions of this article. The usual disclaimer applies.

abstract.

Over the centuries, the image of nomads threatening sedentary ways of life has been a common pejorative representation. In order to understand what geographies underpin narratives about nomads, I examine how social theory and media representations invoke the image of nomads. Both media and academic representations are buttressed by limited understandings of place and space, framing nomads as the quintessential “place invaders.” Focusing on nomadic Gypsies and Travelers in England provides a contemporary example of this process. British media representations construct nomadic Gypsies and Travelers in England as out-of-place and threatening. Deconstructing essentialist geographical conceptions allows us to avoid reproducing the common image of placeless nomads, reveals how people utilize place to render others inferior, and highlights the fact that conflicts between nomadic and sedentary ways of life are not intractable and natural. Adopting a more nuanced understanding of place can challenge the dominant trope of nomads as place invaders.

Ancillary