Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

Fire in the Dark: Telling Gypsiness in North East England
Volume 3

Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology

See Related Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Fire in the Dark

Telling Gypsiness in North East England

Sarah Buckler

248 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-230-8 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (May 2007)

ISBN  978-0-85745-147-7 $29.95/£21.00 Pb Published (June 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-317-4 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors



Buckler's excellent command of the relevant ethnographic and theoretical literature is enlivened by a personal perspective and numerous excerpts from her field notes. An important, exemplary work of applied anthropology for social scientists interested in ethnicity and interethnic relations, and a must read for administrators dealing with multiethnic situations. It is among the very best of the many monographs now being produced on Romany communities in Britain. Essential.”  ·  Choice

“…anthropologists will come, increasingly, to locate themselves...outside the universities. And if this absorbing book is anything to go by, then we should look forward to the future with confidence.”  ·  JRAI

“…an important and original contribution to the social anthropology of Gypsies/Romanies as a growing field of ethnographic research.”  ·  Anthropological Notebooks


Anthropologists who are employed to change the worlds they are researching find themselves in a potentially contradictory position. Combining the various roles and expectations involved in working with Gypsies and local government at the same time as conducting anthropological research, provides the overall perspective of this study. It is an unusual and effective balance of insightful ethnography and anthropological theory with the perspective of someone employed to carry out applied work. An effective and creative use of metaphor structures the entire work and allows complex ideas to be conveyed in an accessible way. Drawing upon traditional anthropological approaches such as kinship and story telling and engaging with the works of major social theorists such as Weber, Bourdieu and Foucault as well as the work of contemporary anthropologists, this work demonstrates the use of anthropology in understanding changing situations and in deciding how best to manage such situations.

Sarah (Sal) Buckler worked for many years in the arts and urban regeneration until an abiding interest in cross-cultural communication led her to study anthropology. She is currently employed in local government research and is Honorary Research Associate at Durham's Department of Anthropology.

Subject: Applied Anthropology
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations

Book Structure
Applying Anthropology


Chapter 1. Defining the Field: People and Practice in an Indeterminate Place
Boundaries and Meeting Places
Boundaries and Gypsy Identity
Schematic Understandings
Framing Interactions
Becoming a Person – Embodiedness
Speaking and the Embodiment of Language

Chapter 2. Reaching an Understanding – Methods and Analysis
Boundaries and the Research Process
People, Culture and Organizations
Ethnography at Home
The Search for the Subject Matter
Self and Other – More Assumed Boundaries
Engagement in the Field
Genealogies and Kinship Charts
Tales of Everyday Life and Conflicting Moral Frames
The Significance of Stories The Ethics of Representation

Chapter 3. The Past and Present Making of Teesside: Building a Place in the World, Finding a Place Amongst People
Arriving Gypsies on Teesside
The Sites
A Question of Culture
Putting Gypsies in Their Place


Chapter 4. Stories and Teaching Gypsiness
An Introduction
The Intersubjective Process of Socialisation
Another Introduction
Learning to Speak – Social Aesthetics and the Context of Socialisation
Social Aesthetics and Socialisation – the Role of Stories
Stories and Teaching Gypsy Children
Telling Stories and Enacting Stories
The Real World of Stories vs. the Fictional World of Books
Stories – Real Life or Fiction?
Stories and Teaching Morality
‘Fictional’ vs. ‘Real-Life’ Moralities

Chapter 5. Stories and the Telling of Family
Parenting and Teaching
How to Be
Family as a Collection of Stories
A Sense of One’s Beginnings
Repeated Story Themes
What’s in a Name?

Chapter 6. Home is Where the Heart Is
Homing In
Telling Family Together
Individual and Family – the Interplay of ‘I’ and ‘We’
A Variety of Possible Stories
Where in the World?

Chapter 7. The Negotiation of Moral Ambivalence
What’s In and What’s Out – or Who Belongs and Who Doesn’t?
Making a Place in the World – Rhetoric and Meaning
Rhetoric, Symbols and Values – Introducing the Inchoate Families
Real and Imagined – the Idea of a Moral Community
Rhetoric and the Creation of Social Space



Part III: Introduction

Chapter 8. The Mediated Moral Imagination
The Character of the Gypsy
An Unfolding Story
The Story Continues
Telling the Story
‘Our’ Way – the Various Faces of ‘We’ and ‘They’

Chapter 9. A Meeting of Minds?
Introducing the Characters
Conflicts and Contradictions – the Meeting’s Internal Processes
Balancing Individuals and Institutions – How Groups are Made and Remade
Adopting Roles, Assuming Responsibilities and Assessing Behaviour
Making a Metaphorical Wasteland

Chapter 10. Managing Multiple Perspectives
Finding a Point of View – Placing People in a Cultural Landscape
Enacting and Re-enacting Storylines
Shifting Perspectives and Enacting Situations


Appendix 1. Kinship Charts
Appendix 2. Newspaper Cuttings


Back to Top