The continuance of oral traditions and storytelling is one of the most significant mechanisms in the preservation and constitution of generations of young Serbian Gypsies as separate ethnic/tribal groups. Traditional stories are repeated, consciously or unconsciously, because of their particular influence on behavior. The majority of the Gypsy traditional stories concern the most important, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous aspect of the Gypsy ancestral environment: other humans. This paper studies not only the effect of traditional stories on behavior, but also the stories told and shared by individuals who claim to share common ancestry. The stories teach young Gypsies fundamental values of the group and promote endogamous traditional marriage patterns, thereby strengthening group identity in an often-hostile environment.


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pp. 129-148
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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