As warden of the Westway Site, social anthropologist Dr Christopher Griffin had a rare opportunity to immerse himself in Traveller culture. A proponent of humane, experiential ethnography, he observed and listened to the Gypsies at the site as he carried out his duties as caretaker. Lasting friendships were established which deepened his knowledge of Gypsy society.This scholarly yet personal account combines social anthropology with the author's direct experience as site warden of the Gypsy encampment under London's Westway. Reflective and partly autobiographical, "Nomads Under the Westway" is a history of west London's Gypsies and Travellers set in a broader context of immigration and race relations. Dr Griffin examines London's 'foreignness' to him as the child of Irish parents, and his response to the city on his return after many years abroad. He also considers the Irish in England more generally, and how the 'wheeler-dealer' culture forms an integral part of the metropolitan economy. Ambitious in scope, the book undertakes both a long historical view (going as far back as 1800) and a detailed survey of cultural practice amongst Travellers and Gypsies today.
Table of Contents
1 Routes and redirections 2 Emigres and wanderers: labourers, Tinkers, Gypsies 3 North Kensington, 1800-1900 4 North Kensington, Hammersmith and Westway Site, 1900-19875 Mortlake (Richmond-upon-Thames) 6 Return of the native: politics, ethics and ethnography 7 Ecology, economy, habitat 8 Work and networks 9 Spouses and children 10 'Community'
Dr Christopher Griffin has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Sussex University. From 1975 to 1982 he taught in the Sociology Department at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Later he became a Gypsy Site Warden in London, working with both Irish Travellers and Romanies. In 1987 he moved to Western Australia to take up a lecturing post at what is now Edith Cowan University. His research interests include political anthropology, ethnicity and applied anthropology.