Romani Studies

The culture of crime: Examining representations of Irish Travelers in Traveller and The Riches

Romani Studies (2009), 19, (1), 49–63.

Abstract

Irish Travelers are frequently equated with crime. This culture-of-crime stereotype is reproduced through media culture. In this article I will analyze the 1997 film Traveller and the first season of the 2007 television series The Riches to see how the criminal stigma is repeatedly (re)ascribed to Irish Travelers. I identify two cultural discourses in Traveller. First, the "culture as practice" discourse grants admission to a cultural group based on what one does. Second, the "culture as nature" discourse views cultural belonging in a biologically deterministic fashion. These two discourses overlap, and Irish Traveler culture is still depicted as a culture of crime. The Riches reproduces this stereotype, as the only way Irish Travelers can lead a "normal" life is too steal a buffer's identity. Both of these examples lead to questioning whether invisibility or visibility solely as criminals is preferable.

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Kabachnik, Peter