Intermittent Citizens: Scotland’s Travellers, welfare and the shifting boundary of state and voluntary action in the early twentieth-century

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This article explores the shifting relationship between Scottish Travellers, voluntary and mission action and the state. Using missionary and state attempts to settle, assimilate and turn Scots Travellers into 'good citizens' in the first decades of the century, including during the First World War and in a designated camping scheme in Perthshire, it shows three things. First, that many of the techniques used to manage Travellers’ behaviour were not exceptional, but rather can be seen as part of the wider armoury deployed by welfare workers and reformers in this period, that often used particular sites to inculcate good citizenship: the mission hall, the school room and the camping ground. Second, that the boundary between state and voluntary action was never fixed. And third, it is through exploring how this boundary shifted over time that we can understand something of how Travellers were positioned as citizens at a time
when both who was considered a citizen, and what that might mean, was profoundly changing. In this way this article not only extends our understanding of Gypsy Traveller history, but also contributes to histories of the state, citizenship and voluntary action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of British Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Jul 2022

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