The Unsettled Life
Published by: Indiana University Press
220 pages, 216.00 x 216.00 mm, 41 b&w illus., 41 color illus.
- ISBN: 9780253014610
- Published: October 2014
Anthropologists George and Sharon Gmelch have been studying the quasi-nomadic people known as Travellers since their fieldwork in the early 1970s, when they lived among Travellers and went on the road in their own horse-drawn wagon. In 2011 they returned to seek out families they had known decades before—shadowed by a film crew and taking with them hundreds of old photographs showing the Travellers' former way of life. Many of these images are included in this book, alongside more recent photos and compelling personal narratives that reveal how Traveller lives have changed now that they have left nomadism behind.
"The issues at the heart of this book—identity, marginalization, and modernization—are relevant far beyond the context of Irish Travellers. The book is exceptionally accessible and will appeal to anyone, inside or outside of academia, interested in the dynamics of tradition, folklore, ethnography, ethnicity, community development, and activism."~The Journal of American Folklore
Sharon Bohn Gmelch and George Gmelch eloquently weave the voices of travellers, their settled supporters, and the authors themselves to give rare insight into how life has changed for travellers in light of forced settlement and drastic economic changes in Ireland. . . The book is exceptionally accessible and will appeal to anyone, inside or outside of academia, interested in the dynamics of tradition, folklore, ethnography, ethnicity, community development, and activism.~American Folklore Society
Aimed at a broad readership, this book by two well-established scholars offers a compelling account of a return to Ireland 40 years after their doctoral fieldwork among the Irish minority population of Travelling People.~American Anthropologist
This book is an excellent introduction to how cultural anthropologists use classic methodologies such as interviews and observations to present a narrative of a community with rich traditions. In this texts the Gmelch's have expanded this type of classic study to include images and reflections from their previous informants to give the reader a long-term perspective on the traveller's life. The images, narratives, and presentation of interviews captivates students in a way that many classic ethnographies cannot.~Liza Gijanto, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, St. Mary's College of Maryland
[C]olor photos . . . form a full picture of the group's culture over the decades, and . . . reflect the importance of photographs in Traveller life. . . . An unusual and captivating depiction of a rarely examined people.~Library Journal (Starred Review)