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Accepted Paper:

Gypsies and Travellers intermittently enhancing, then expelled from left behind places  
Judith Okely (Oxford UniversityUniversity of Hull)

Paper short abstract:

Gypsies and Travellers, as service nomads, have exploited left behind places, profiting the wider economy in multiple ways. Subsequent planning and political restrictions have brought unanticipated welfare state costs, economic loss and now forever abandoned, sometimes polluted places.

Paper long abstract:

Most states fear nomads, especially Gypsies or Travellers. Yet such service nomads have provided key economic contributions to the housedwelling economy. The supply of occasional goods and services demands mobility and random stopping places. Gypsies have preferred mobile homes, whether tents, horse drawn or motor caravans, exploiting pockets of unused land. Regular places are found either side of council boundaries reflecting escorted evictions beyond official borders.

By contrast, Gypsies' and Travellers' were welcomed by farmers for seasonal labour, conveniently providing their own accommodation. Other occupations have brought them to urban locations for metal recycling, housedwellers' re-roofing and fencing.

Suddenly, 1960 legislation criminalized caravan residence on privately owned or rented land if without official planning permission. Gypsies were subject to mass evictions. Ensuing roadside caravan clusters triggered the 1967 legislation requiring council provision of official Gypsy sites. Frequently, these adjoined rubbish dumps or polluting motorways, namely land rejected for housing. Nevertheless, suitable sites were gradually adapted and welcomed. However, new controversial Conservative 1994 legislation abolished official site provision. Gypsies were told to buy their own land. Planning permission was invariably refused e.g. the Dale Farm multi-million eviction. The government wrongly labelled this former scrap yard 'Green Belt'. Bulldozing released poisonous chemicals creating a new permanently left behind.

Deprived of sites, ethnic contacts and familiar occupations, Gypsies have been forceably housed, placed on benefits and anti-depressants. Farmers now depend on labour from foreign migrants sheltering under plastic. Ironically, intermittent caravan access to varied stopping places once profitted both Gypsies and housedwellers.

Panel A09
'Left behind places': unequal social trajectories of progress
  Session 1 Wednesday 4 September, 2019, -