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Gypsy World: The Silence of the Living and the Voices of the Deadby Patrick Williams
Synopses & Reviews
For many of us, one of the most important ways of coping with the death of a close relative is talking about them, telling all who will listen what they meant to us. Yet the Gypsies of central France, the Manuš, not only do not speak of their dead, they burn or discard the deceased's belongings, refrain from eating the dead person's favorite foods, and avoid camping in the place where they died.
In Gypsy World, Patrick Williams argues that these customs are at the center of how Manuš see the world and their place in it. The Manuš inhabit a world created by the "Gadzos" (non-Gypsies), who frequently limit or even prohibit Manuš movements within it. To claim this world for themselves, the Manuš employ a principle of cosmological subtraction: just as the dead seem to be absent from Manuš society, argues Williams, so too do the Manuš absent themselves from Gadzo society—and in so doing they assert and preserve their own separate culture and identity.
About the Author
Patrick Williams is the director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. His numerous publications on Gypsy groups include Mariage Tsigane; Tsiganes: Identité, évolution; Les Tsiganes de Hongrie et leurs musiques; and Django.
Catherine Tihanyi, an anthropologist and translator, is a research associate in the Department of Anthropology at Western Washington University.
Table of Contents
List of Photographs
2 Mare Mule: The Dead among the Living
3 Civilizing the World
4 The Basket Makers Have Become Scrap-Iron Dealers
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology