SOC 206 Lecture 13: Deviant Communities--Irish Travelers

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SOC 206
Kelly Glenn Godwin

Deviant Communities: The Irish Travelers (March 22, 2017) Introduction to the Irish Travelers The Irish Travelers are considered to be an itinerant ethnic group o Itinerant groups: Groups that travel from place to place and subsist on trade with the sedentary populations amongst which they move *This is different from nomadic populations because nomadic groups subsist on hunting and herds of livestock The Irish Travelers Demographics There are approximately 100,000 travelers worldwide o They are primarily located in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States Ireland ~35,000 Great Britain ~15,000 United States ~40,000 o Life expectancy among travelers Life expectancy amongst an Irish Traveler Boy born in 2008 is 62 years Life expectancy amongst an Irish Traveler Girl born in 2008 is 70 years o Compare this with the Life expectancy in Great Britain, US, and Ireland: Great Britain Men 79 years Women 82 years United States Men 76 years Women 81 years Ireland Men 77 years Women 82 years The Irish Travelers History Also, known as paves, tinkers, and gypsies The origins are largely uncertain due to the lack of a written record amongst the group o It is thought that the Travelers date back centuries and have developed from a distinct group of people who were Tinsmiths or Tinkers The origins may also be uncertain due to their history as poor group, which would have left them largely ignored by mainstream society The current theory adopted by the media and policy making endeavors to explain the development and continuing presence of the Irish Travelers is the Culture of Poverty social theory o Culture of Poverty Social theory based on the idea of a cycle of poverty Basically, the theory that states that the poor are not only lacking resources, but also require a povertyperpetuating value system Sort of a subculture of poverty o However, this theory is widely rejected in sociology because it fails to consider structural explanations of poverty The Irish Travelers Culture Traditionally, the Irish Travelers were transient traders, who moved from town to town and engaged in selling a wide range of goods and services
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