Race, Ethnicity, and Migration
Society and Culture
Your island has a population of 10 million
• What is the cultural background, welfare background,
religious background and political background of your
• How many immigrants should you allow each year?
• What types of visas will you give?
• What will the immigrants be expected or allowed to
• How will they be allowed to practise their religious or
• How much access to welfare will immigrants be
• How will you encourage integration?
• What will you do when the laws, traditions and cultures
of the native countries of the immigrants contradict
with the laws, traditions and cultures of your island?
‘Us and them’: the processes of prejudice and discrimination
• Is it possible to be prejudiced without actually discriminating?
• How might an unprejudiced person find themselves acting in a way which
Models of integration
• Is assimilationism a form of ethnocentrism?
• What would an individual gain and lose from living in a melting‐pot culture?
• Is the hybridization of cultures and identities inevitable in the modern world?
Ethnicity and inequality
• Why do we need to understand history to understand contemporary patterns
of ethnic antagonism?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of thinking of ethnic minorities
as a single social group?
• Should there be limits on immigration? If ‘yes’, what should they be?
• How do inequalities of race relate to social class inequalities?
• How is the experience of ethnicity shaped by gender?
– Humans can’t be easily
separated into races (despite
numerous attempts to)
– Scientific theories (late 18th,
19th Cs) used to justify social
• Joseph Arthur de Gobineau
– White (Caucasian) – superior
intelligence; Black (Negroid)
– animal nature, emotional
(Mongoloid) – sly, cunning
Race does not exist
• The genetic diversity within populations is as
great as the diversity between populations
– ‘Race’ is an ideological construct (Miles 1993)
• Myth 1 - Idea That Any Race is Superior
– Historical, exploitative relationships
• Myth 2 - Idea that Any Race is Pure
– Human Characteristics Flow Endlessly Together
– Mixture of DNA between ethnicities
• If ‘race’ has no scientific basis, why does the
concept keep recurring? Perhaps we should stop
using the word ‘race’?
Race as a label for identity
• Asian gay men more likely to define race as master
status, compared to black gay men, or gay men of
– Many felt equally gay, male and the member of an ethnic
• ‘on the street, people see my blackness before knowing
I’m gay, so all of the time my race comes first, but I
would hate for you to think I don’t think my sexuality is
• How others act towards you: ‘I can’t forget I’m black,
but I can forget I’m gay’.
• (Fisher et al, 1997)
• However; feminist critique. People also see ‘woman’,
‘woman of colour’ (Davis, 1981)
– Certain groups of people come to be labelled as
distinct biological groups on the basis of naturally
occurring physical features:
• From 15th Century, Europeans came into contact with others,
attempts were made to categorize
• These attempts have taken codified, institutionalized forms
• Social institutions have become racialized; CJS,
• ‘Race’ may be disregarded, but remember W.I.
Thomas’s theorem: ‘if men define situations as
real, they are real in their consequences’ (1928)
– purely social in meaning
– Cultural practices and outlook of
given community of people which
distinguishes them from others
– Members may see themselves as
culturally distinct, and others
may see themselves as culturally
– Ethnic differences are learned
– Produced and reproduced over
time: maintained by tradition
– Exclusionary devices:
• Prohibition of intermarriage
• Minority groups
– Members of groups which are
disadvantaged when compared
with the dominant group
according to power, wealth and
– Have some sense of group
solidarity (belonging together)
• Minorities draws attention to
– Homosexuals and Pakistanis are
both minority groups: do they
Figure 11.3 The Rainbow Coalition, US Census 2000: percentages of population by
race and Latino categories
Source: Adapted from US Bureau of the Census (2000)
• What’s the difference between
discrimination and prejudice?
• opinions or attitudes held by
members of one group towards
• Internalised Norms: learned
(learned from where?)
• Often: stereotypes:
– ‘All black men are good at sport’ /‘All
Chinese students are hard working.’
– Displacement psychoanalytic idea;
projection of negative feelings
towards self to outside object
– Scapegoating: two ethnic minorities
competing for economic position;
blame others for position.
– Simpson & Yinger (1986) black males
thought to be highly dangerous to
white women, when virtually all
criminal sexual contact was initiated
by white men against black women
• Actual behaviour:
– Disqualify members of one group from opportunities
open to others
– May rest on prejudice; but not necessarily
• Bertrand & Mullainathan (2003)
• White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews.
• Race affects the benefits of a better CV.
– White names, gets 30 % more
• Applicants living in better neighborhoods receive more callbacks but:
– this effect does not differ by race.
• Amount of discrimination is uniform across occupations and industries.
• Federal contractors and employers who list “Equal Opportunity Employer” in
their ad discriminate as much as other employers.
Bertrand & Mullainathan (2003), ‘Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor
market discrimination’Working Paper 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research http://www.nber.org/papers/w9873
Figure 11.1 Prejudice and discrimination: the vicious cycle
Macionis & Plummer (2008)
• Is it possible for people to be prejudiced but
• Are there any examples of this from your
• Is prejudice acceptable, as long as is it
unaccompanied by discrimination ?
Sociological theories of racism and
Three Broad Sociological Theories of
1. Ethnocentrism a suspicion of outsiders; tendency to
evaluate culture against your culture’s terms:
• Outsiders = barbarian, aliens, morally, mentally inferior
2. Group closure: process. Boundaries are formed and
maintained through exclusion devices (Barth 1969);
• limiting intermarriage
• restriction on social contact, economic restriction (e.g. trading)
• Physical separation/ghettoisation (e.g. ethnic ghettos)
3. Resource allocation one ethnic group dominates by
occupying position of power: institutes inequalities in
wealth distribution, materials goods
• Conflict theories racism is
product of capitalism , ruling
classes use slavery, colonization
and racism to exploit labour (Cox
• Too rigid? Hall et al (1982)
racism is more than oppressive
ideas enacted by powerful elites:
– Complex, multifaceted
– Interplay of identities: working-
class, ethnic minority
• Most developed societies have ethnic diversity
The questions sociologists and politicians ask:
• How can ethnic diversity be accommodated?
• What should be the relation between ethnic
minority groups and the majority population?
Models of ethnic
• Assimilation :
– Abandon original customs,
– Attempts difficult if racialized or
• Melting pot
– different cultures/patterns
brought in: chicken tikka
– Diversity created through
– Most desirable outcome?
– Constantly transforming social
Models of ethnic integration
• Cultural pluralism
– Separately but
participate in economy,
– Strongly related:
policies that encourage
ethnic groups to live
Greater London poster
Promoting an image of London's multicultural diversity
Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission. This poster was originally published by the Commission for Racial Equality, which is now part of the new Equality and Human Rights
Support for multiculturalism
• Parekh (2000:67) ‘the cultural identity
of some groups (minorities) should not
have to be confined to the private sphere
while the other language, culture and
religion of others (the majority) enjoy a
public monopoly and are treated as the
• Sen (2007) Solitarism (nationality or
religion to be primary form of identity) is
dangerous, leading to conflict
• A UK citizen
• An Essex Girl
• A liberal
• A woman
and I see myself as each of these without any
Which subject positions do you identify with?
• The debate of political multiculturalism:
• Discourses/ media
– local authorities in the UK ‘cancel’ Christmas?
– A cross to be removed from a van?
– Fear of militant Islam
– Fear of rising immigration
– Political turn against multiculturalism
• Is not multiculturalism naive ?
• Implies groups can follow
whatever norms they want
• Emphasizes importance of
national identities and national
• Emphasizes fostering of
connections between groups
• Equality of status does not
mean accepting uncritically
• Taylor (1992):
– If people have rights and respect, they also have
– One responsibility is to follow the law
• The difficulty is when we reach issues which are not
as clear cut:
– France has banned burkhas. This is a assimilationist
• Critical thinking:
Why do some forms of identification (e.g. national or
religious) seem more powerful than others?
Ethnic diversity or solidarity?
David Goodhart (2004)
• Trade off between diversity
and solidarity – welfare state
• People will pay higher taxes
for those considered to
share common values and
• Sweden; Denmark
• Tipping point: Britain and
Bernard Crick (2004)
• ‘Solidarity of what?’
• Britain or UK?
• Historically a multinational and
multi ethnic state
• Dual status: British- Scottish;
British –English = accepted
• It’s not about solidarity or loss
of identity: identity is being a
member of more than one
Ask your partner:
Whose opinion do you find more convincing?
• Us and Them
• Models of integration
• Ethnicity and inequality
• Forum ‘Make Bradford British’:
– log on to 4od
– Watch the episodes of Make Bradford British
– Take notes according to the questions on the
– Write up notes and upload them.
• Seminar preparation
• Davis, A. Women, Race and Class New York:
Random House, 1981.
• Fisher, K, ‘A Study of the Sexual Behaviour of
Gay Men from Ethnic Minority Groups in the
United Kingdom’. Working Paper 6