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Van Hout, Marie Claire (2010) The Irish traveller community: social capital and drug use. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse , 9 , (3) , pp. 186-205.

The Irish Traveller community experiences severe marginalization, poverty, discrimination, and compromised health. Research indicates a distinct lack of structural understanding of Traveller negotiation of conflict within dominant sedentarist societal norms and values. Gender-based focus groups (n = 12) of Travellers (n = 57) were conducted as part of a large scale regional needs analysis for Travellers and substance use in Ireland and analyzed thematically using the social capital framework in terms of Traveller experiences within settled communities, exposure to drugs, and drug using contexts.

Discriminatory experiences, low levels of institutional trust, and an influx of drug activity in Traveller communities are contributing to the neutralization of drug taking risk and the development of normative and reciprocal relationships in drug activities. A holistic, inter-governmental approach is needed to address social exclusion factors by reducing marginalization, preserving the Traveller ethnic identity, minimizing racist and discriminatory instances, understanding the Traveller risk environment, and fostering inclusive relationships with settled communities.

 

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