“We remained the troubadours of nature”: On a special relationship to nature in some gypsy families in Limousin

By Jean-Pierre Cavaillé


This study is based on documentary film of the “gypsy” pilgrimage of Saint-Auvent (Haute-Vienne), a long familiarity with many manouche (French Sinti) families in the Limousin region, and a reading of manouche authors (Doerr and Stimbach). It explores the meaning given in this community’s emic speech to the constantly repeated affirmation of a proximity, or even familiarity, with “nature” that is said to be unknown to the “Gadje” (non-gypsies). We analyze declarations of a special and reciprocal love of nature that is said to be constitutive of manouche identity, and we examine the link between this theme of nature and the memory, respect, and discreet worship of the dead.


  • Gypsies
  • Nature
  • Death
  • Religion
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