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Cities, Societies and Migrants Social Spaces in the City: Community, Identity and Difference


teenagers contest adult authority by finding their own spaces. unruly, uncivilized' behaviour ... a young population (Simpson)- natural increase, new household ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cities, Societies and Migrants Social Spaces in the City: Community, Identity and Difference

Cities, Societies and MigrantsSocial Spaces in
the City Community, Identity and Difference
Interpreting Ethnic Segregation Dr Deborah
Key themes of last lecture
  • social identities are multiple, relational and
    contested and have spatial expression
  • social spaces reflect and reproduce social
  • people may resist their ascribed identities and
    the spaces assigned to them

This lecture explores
  • resistance and transgression how people resist
    their ascribed identities and the spaces assigned
    to them. Space becomes part of a political
  • geographies of ethnic segregation, and how we can
    interpret them

Resistance and transgression
  • Gay communities have used the streets to
    proclaim their identity and to make their voice
  • gay men and women insert themselves into a
    heterosexist space (Valentine, 2001)

Resistance and transgression
  • Ethnic carnivals provide excluded black
    minorities with a social and physical space to
    display their cultural difference and identity
  • celebratory and political
  • held in the symbolic space of the ethnic

Resistance and transgression
  • Youth has become a demonised category
  • teenagers contest adult authority by finding
    their own spaces
  • unruly, uncivilized behaviour
  • directly aimed at adults e.g. graffiti, abuse,
    petty vandalism
  • unintentionally disruptive, e.g. underage
    drinking, large groups can be seen as
  • created a moral panic

Images of Asian Britain
Ethnic segregation and integration
  • many governments are concerned about growing
    segregation and the apparent failure of some
    minority ethnic groups to socially and spatially
  • c.f. EU Agency for Fundamental Human Rights
    (2007) report
  • persistent minority ethnic segregation is seen as
    an indicator of a divided society and social
  • typical model - social and spatial assimilation
    over the generations, characterised by outward
    movement. End point spatial dispersal or
    suburban enclaves
  • e.g. Jews (UK and USA) Italians and Germans (USA)

Black minority ethnic group segregation
  • black minority ethnic groups have not followed
    the (white minority) model
  • persistent clustering in deprived inner city
  • Britain is sleepwalking its way to US style
    ghettos according to Trevor Phillips, head of
    the former Commission for Racial Equality

(No Transcript)
Pakistani and Bangladeshi inner-city clusters,
Leeds 2001
Forces for ethnic segregation
  • newcomer status
  • social class - poverty and low socio-economic
  • ethnicity cultural and religious differences
    (relates to personal identities)
  • racial discrimination in jobs, housing etc and
    the public sphere (relates to ascribed identity
    and otherness)

Measuring ethnic segregation
  • The Index of Dissimilarity (ID) calculates the
    proportion of an ethnic group that would have to
    move to produce an even distribution
  • Scale
  • 0 (no segregation) 100 (complete segregation)

Explanations for persistent ethnic clustering in
deprived areas
  • demographic growth of a young population
    (Simpson)- natural increase, new household
  • choice - positive forces associated with
  • constraint - exclusionary forces associated with
    poverty, discrimination and otherness
  • Issues
  • what does ethnic clustering mean for the everyday
    lives of those who live in segregated areas?
  • how do minority ethnic groups see and use these
    spaces, and those spaces beyond the ethnic
  • how is minority ethnic segregation read by

Positive forces for living in an inner-city Asian
cluster - Leeds
  • We are safe here and a large community lives
    close by. All the needs of life are fulfilled
    (female, inner Leeds)
  • We like the atmosphere and the familiarity of
    living close to families of the same religious
    background (female, inner Leeds)
  • I will go on living here. This community is like
    my village in Bangladesh. (male, inner Leeds)
  • In (the suburbs) we are alone. There (inner
    Leeds) we had great support, especially at times
    of happiness (marriage) or grief. we had Asian
    neighbours who were willing to accommodate our
    family at times of need (male, suburban Leeds)

Perceptions of racial discrimination in Britain
(2002 race relations poll)
Do you think the colour of a persons skin makes
a difference in the way they are treated at work?
Have you faced racial or religious discrimination
at school,college or university?
(No Transcript)
The Secret Policeman, BBC 2003
'And this is your special 'off duty' helmet...'
" This shows a pattern of behaviour which is
widespread, and though officially condemned, is
tacitly condoned by the officers' peers "
Trevor Phillips, Commission for Racial
Evidence of racial discrimination in the housing
market (Phillips 1998, 2007)
  • black people have been denied access to
    properties they wish to rent or buy
  • racial steering of black and minority ethnic
    groups to certain areas (spatial purification)
  • limited options to raise finance for purchase
  • may be charged higher prices (ethnic penalties)
  • allocation of black households to the poorest
    council housing estates
  • In addition, area and housing choices may be
    constrained by (fear of) racist harassment

Will Asians move out from the inner city?
  • People will move outward.. But from my
    experience, I can say that white and Jewish
    people, they dont like it when Asian or black
    people move into their areas. My sister is living
    in a white high class area where she is facing
    this problem (female, inner Leeds)
  • If the area is only white, then I dont think
    Asian families will move there. On the other
    hand, if there are some Asian families living in
    a good, safe area, then I think some Asians might
    move there, but not all (male, inner Leeds)
  • Estate agents have refused to sell to
    Asians/blacks. When we made enquiries we were
    told by the agent that the property was sold,
    although the sign was still up. We then found out
    that the owners did not want to sell to
    Asians/blacks (female, outer Leeds)
  • When we first moved into the area, we had a lot
    of hassle throwing of eggs, stones at the
    windows, throwing of glass in the driveway. We
    found out our house was targeted as we were the
    only Asians in the area when we first moved
    (female, outer Leeds)

Concluding key points
  • there is a debate over appropriate measures of
    ethnic segregation
  • explanations for persistent ethnic segregation
    are contested and politicised
  • ethnic segregation arises from multiple forces
  • imaginary geographies of difference produce
    unequal social and spatial divisions
  • ascribed racialised identities can have a
    negative effect on the everyday lives of visible