Bhopal, Kalwant, Bhatti, Ghazala and Rhamie, Jasmine
The experiences of minority ethnic groups in the South of England: migration, citizenship and identities.
In, Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM), University of Surrey, UK,
30 Jun - 01 Jul 2008.
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This paper explores the experiences of minority ethnic young people in secondary schools in an under-researched geographical area located on the South coast of England. The paper will focus on issues of identity within the school context to examine how young people perceive themselves and how they perceive others. It will explore notions of ‘whiteness’ and ‘blackness’ in relation to white, black, Asian and ‘new migrant groups’ such as Eastern Europeans. The main aims of the research are to examine how young people perceive and understand their identities within the school context. We wanted to investigate how young people defined themselves, what they understood by their own identities and those of other minority ethnic groups and how this related to understandings of ‘belonging’, ‘not belonging’ and ‘citizenship’. The study was conducted in two phases. This paper will report findings from phase 1 – pupils’ perspectives. The methods employed included 20 questionnaire surveys in two secondary schools with children in years 7 to 9 (11-14 years old) including children from white backgrounds, white Polish migrants, Asian groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) and Black African-Caribbean groups. Young people negotiate different identities at different times. There are particular ways in which the status of ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’ is defined. This paper will examine our preliminary findings within the context of Britishness, migration and citizenship.
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