Breaking the silence: the intersecting invisible experiences of Gypsy/Traveller girls in Scotland
Marcus, Geetha Doraisamy
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis explores the educational experiences of 17 Scottish Gypsy/Traveller girls supplemented by some 30 other informants involved with education and related areas impacting Gypsy/Travellers. It incorporates published and unpublished literature on the topic and sets out a theoretical framework informed by intersectionality. The girls’ stories are highlighted and juxtaposed alongside the general problems encountered by Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland to reveal a complex narrative. This research attempts to address a gap in the literature in which Gypsy/Traveller girls’ experiences are misrecognised and erased through non-recognition. My thesis offers space for the voices of Gypsy/Traveller girls to be heard and highlights their agency in the private spaces of home and the public spaces of education. Interpretations of the image of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland are riddled with stereotypes and racialised misperceptions and assumptions. The stubborn persistence of these negative views appears to contribute to policies of neglect, inertia or intervention that largely seeks to ‘civilise’ or further assimilate Gypsy/Travellers into the mainstream settled population. The Scottish Government's Race Equality Statement (2009) accepts that Gypsy/Travellers are ‘a particularly discriminated against and marginalised group’. Within education, research by Wilkin et al. (2009) indicates that Gypsy/Traveller children are the lowest achieving minority group in the United Kingdom. There is currently no research that explores how girls and young women from Gypsy/Traveller communities fare in Scottish schools, and what they think of their experiences. It is against this backdrop that this qualitative inquiry seeks to explore how Gypsy/Traveller girls frame their educational experiences. I argue that traditional unidimensional approaches to investigating experiences of discrimination are inadequate, particularly within marginalised communities. Interview data collected for this doctoral study was analysed, identifying common themes that characterise the experiences of the Gypsy/Traveller girls and the ways in which their experiences differ and various subordinations intersect.