A Study on the Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and Conducting Social Research with Gypsy / Roma Groups

Gezgin, Elif and Greenfields, Margaret (2017) A Study on the Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and Conducting Social Research with Gypsy / Roma Groups. Journal of Gypsy Studies, 1 (1). pp. 31-47.

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Abstract

In social science discourse, both historically and currently, the dichotomy between agency and structure tends to dominate debate pertaining to identity construction. However, it is clear that in any debate which omits to explore the dialectic relationships between agency and structure; the holistic, relational and subjective nature of ‘reality’ as perceived by actors engaged in ‘identity construction’ tends to be overlooked. When complex social facts are viewed through a simplistic prism of either individual activities or dominant structural impacts is likely to lead to research conclusion, - particularly when the subjects of research are members of communities at risk of vulnerability which are merely two-dimensional; omitting essential elements and interplays of circumstances, agency and structures which can rapidly shift dependent on both personal and external contexts and stressors. Within this paper , we try to discuss the ways of utilising Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical modelling to explore the potential for creating a more nuanced alternative theory of identity construction in the context of case studies focused on Gypsy/Roma(ni) people whose identity construction depends both on internal identification and that of other (dominant) groups amongst they live. We argue that revisiting Bourdieuian discourse so as to explore the circumstances of these communities ‘identity practices’ does not require that we relinquish any core elements of ‘lived reality’ by reifying the implications of external structural pressures, but instead, use of this theoretical framework enables complexity of debate. In this paper we also aim to consider how in two widely contrasting international contexts – that of Roma people in Turkey and Gypsy/Traveller communities in the UK – use of Bourdieuian analysis provides appropriate tools which enables us to analyse the daily living activities and associated sense of active agency of these populations without minimising or excluding the structural effects which impact them; enabling a nuanced relational sociological approach to understanding Gypsy/Roma(ni) groups’ identity construction in its entirety, whilst taking account of the specific geographical context in which the populations reside.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Bourdieu, Relational Sociology, Gypsy/Roma(ni) people, Inequalities, Identity, Research
Members: Bucks New University
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 08:50
Last Modified: 08 May 2017 08:50
URI: http://collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/15571

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