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"SUBSTANTIAL AND RELATIONAL IDENTITY": Are Hungarian Gypsies an 'ethnic' group?

         This paper is an attempt to work through and explain a sense of frustration I have felt when trying to apply to my research some of the key concepts developed by Frederick Barth in his introductory essay to the volume 'Ethnic Groups and Boundaries' (1969). The most influential aspect of this work for anthropologists has derived from Barth's transactionalist emphasis on social organisation as the result of process rather than structure. Though his shift from an objectivist bias in the discipline was no doubt necessary at the time it is now widely recognised that Barth fails to account for structures within which individual strategies are constructed.  The inadequacies of Barth's essay to which I point are somewhat different and concern the very concept of 'ethnic group'. I focus on the term 'ethnic' (the cultural impliactions of Barth's model) and leave aside the process of group maintenance (its socio-structural implications).

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