Glasgow’s Ellis Island? The integration and stigmatisation of Govanhill’s Roma population

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Abstract

This paper examines the contemporary situation of different central and Eastern European Roma communities who are currently living in Govanhill, Glasgow. Although adopting a microsociological and ethnographic approach, the wider European and UK political and policy context is discussed and broader structural factors, surrounding migration for example, are not overlooked. The primary focus of ongoing fieldwork in Govanhill is an attempt to witness and account for experiences and understandings of integration and stigmatisation of Roma communities, drawing on the work of Howard Becker, Erving Goffman and Richard Yarwood to assist the analysis. Theoretically and methodologically, the paper embraces an intersectional approach, including reference to the work of feminists such as Kathy Davis and Mari Matsuda. Such an approach is a means of ensuring that issues of class and gender, alongside ethnicity, are documented and appreciated when examining the situation of Roma vis-à-vis identity, integration and community interactions. In particular, various issues around welfare and social policy provision stand out as being principle concerns for Roma
communities and service providers in Govanhill. Data from Glasgow illustrates that accommodation, employment and education are all key areas demanding further investigation to improve access, take-up and delivery of services. Responses to some of these urban policy challenges are addressed with evidence to support the argument that some successes are apparent, although there is still much work still to be done. It is notable that some of the most successful ‘on-the-ground’ projects are Roma-led, working in partnership with Glasgow City Council and other public and third sector agencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalPeople, Place and Policy
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • Roma
  • Govanhill
  • Glasgow
  • Migration
  • Integration
  • Stigmatisation
  • Welfare
  • Intersectionality
  • Identity
  • community

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