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Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: A case study explaining how the social construction of Scottish Showpeople influences policy designs
Author(s): Salvona, Andrea
Supervisor(s): Cairney, Paul
Robertson, Douglas
Keywords: Showpeople
Public Policy
Social Construction
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2019
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Why do people seek to engage with public policy processes? One answer is that they seek to pursue their interests or to translate their beliefs into policy. The social construction and policy design framework suggests that people also engage to address how governments portray them as a social group (Schneider and Ingram, 1997). The pursuit of positive policy outcomes combines with the pursuit of positive social representations. When policymakers deem a group worthy of government support and benefits, groups can engage to reinforce government action. However, when policymakers portray groups negatively, making them appear unworthy of government support, affected groups first need to engage to challenge such negative stereotyping, before trying to mitigate and reform the effects of public policy. The case study of the experiences of Scottish Showpeople, over a protracted time frame, provides an important exemplar. Showpeople routinely face negative portrayals by policymakers across many levels and types of government. The thesis reveals how they have responded, both to try to engage with a challenging public policy debate, and to mitigate the impact and influence of that debate that they consider to be undermining their livelihood and culture. Although Scottish Showpeople’s response has been skilful and positive, their social and economic status is being eclipsed by a dominant narrative across government: policymakers perceive ‘travellers’ as a single social entity, which undermines Scottish Showpeople’s case to be treated as a specific social group with specific requirements from policy. Consequently, Showpeople have increasingly sought new venues to challenge these negative and simplistic portrayals. This thesis outlines the role of policy in the social and spatial marginalisation of Scottish Showpeople, demonstrating they have become the most highly regulated community in Scotland, despite the efforts of the Scottish Showmen’s Guild.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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