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Identity as a barrier to social services: stigmatization and resistance of the Irish Travellers

Tubito, Elizabeth (2015) Identity as a barrier to social services: stigmatization and resistance of the Irish Travellers. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Irish Travellers score the lowest in most social indicators in the Republic of Ireland. Many studies blame discrimination by the Settled population as the barrier impeding Travellers’ access to social services. They often suggest cultural acceptance and inclusive social policies as keys in improving Travellers’ social conditions. However, Travellers remain increasingly marginalized despite many accomplishments in implementing these recommendations.

I employ in-depth interviews and observational research in Kilkenny, Ireland in order to better understand Travellers’ barriers to social services. I study the Travellers, the general Settled population, and Settled people who work with Travellers to answer the following questions: What are Travellers’ and Settled people’s perceptions of Travellers’ social services? Why do Travellers not utilize services that appear to be available to them?

My research suggests contradiction in perceptions of Travellers’ social services. I study these complexities at macro and micro levels of analysis. I find that the emergence of neoliberalism as the global economic trend has caused three socio-economic impacts affecting Irish social services: increased urbanization, the restructuring of the role of government, and amplified economic fluctuations. These changes form a moral paradox in Irish ideology between the discourse of equality and the value of individual responsibility. Group identities are, thus, discreetly stigmatized under ‘common sense’ ideology.

Therefore, I study barriers at the micro level through the dynamic process of stigmatization. I find the existence of stigma through analyzes of Traveller self and perceived identity. I further find that Travellers respond to discrimination through internalization and resistance. In conclusion, I reveal how the dynamic nature of stigmatization results in Traveller identity becoming a barrier to social services in itself.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tubito, Elizabeth ELT41@pitt.eduELT41
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGoodkind, Sarasara.goodkind@pitt.eduSAG51
Committee MemberGmelch,
Committee CoChairCovington-Ward, YolandaYDC1@pitt.eduYDC1
Committee MemberNovosel, Tonypugachev@pitt.eduPUGACHEV
Date: 21 April 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 March 2015
Approval Date: 21 April 2015
Submission Date: 15 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 80
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Irish Travellers, Stigmatization, Resistance, Stigma, Barriers, Social Services, Neoliberalism, Internalization, Discrimination
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2015 19:36
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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