Race, citizenship and identity: Race Conflict and Change Week 4e
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Following on from Week 2’s examination of the construction of race as an object of knowledge and last week’s look at post-colonial immigration, this week we will look at how national identity is ...
Following on from Week 2’s examination of the construction of race as an object of knowledge and last week’s look at post-colonial immigration, this week we will look at how national identity is constructed in response to the perceived threat of the racial ‘other. This week the focus will be on two aspects: Firstly, how do race and racism shape the way in which those racialized as other experience and identify themselves. In particular, in what way does racialization lead to the formation of “ethnic minority communities” and what role does the “community” have in perpetuating racial identities and/or overcoming racism? Secondly, in what way does race and the existence of racial ‘others’ in British society lead to the construction of national identity and citizenship in reaction to so-called ‘foreign’ identities? Who can and who cannot be a member of the nation and a full citizen? How do such reactions manifest themselves (a) in popular culture (for example the revival of ‘Englishness’?) and (b) through policy (in particular the call for ‘national values’ and the implementation of policies such as citizenship tests and ceremonies). Throughout we shall be critiquing the very concept of identity. What does it really mean and is it a useful term for coping with the multiple facets that make up who we are, both as individuals and as groups? How have identities always been mediated by race, and how or should this be challenged?
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