This chapter addresses the construction of Traveller identity in Ireland. It is argued that contemporary discourses of tolerance, diversity and multiculturalism, rather than leading to respect for Travellers and increased ‘tolerance’ of their lifestyle, have merely perpetuated their historical situation and an assimilationist approach towards Traveller culture. To shed light on why negative and intolerant attitudes to Travellers continue to prevail, the chapter traces and deconstructs the way in which academic research has been an influential element of the complex discursive landscape which frames Travellers’ lives. It describes some of the processes of thought and styles of investigation by which academics and sedentary society have come to ‘know’ Irish Travellers, and discusses how academic research and the construction of particular ‘knowledges’ has contributed to creating and maintaining power relations of inequality. Finally, it argues for the importance of alternative forms of scholarship which draw on stronger participatory approaches and examine broader societal narratives pertaining to the sedentary society.
This chapter examines the development of Ireland's diaspora strategy from 2000. It provides an analytical framework through which diaspora strategies might be best understood, and considers some important criticisms of the diaspora for development agenda. The chapter draws three aspects of this framework for further scrutiny: motives, institutions and strategies, and supporting infrastructures. It focuses on changing motives of the Irish state towards its diaspora, the institutions and strategies which are overseeing Ireland's diaspora policies, and the quality and effectiveness of the supporting or flanking infrastructures upon which Ireland depends. The chapter also focuses on how Ireland is seeking to refresh, re-energize and build anew its relationships with its diaspora. It concludes by identifying a number of questions which the further development of an Irish diaspora strategy might usefully address.