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Re-scripting the character of Birmingham's ethnic minority population: assets and others in the stories of a multicultural city

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Birmingham has embarked on a brave attempt to broaden its planning ethos and incorporate elements of the city's diverse cultural population. A key feature of this new ethos is a re-scripting of its ethnic minorities as an asset rather than a problem. In this paper, I track the characterization of Birmingham's ethnic minorities through the newspaper archive and mobilize a politics of difference as a critical reading strategy. In so doing, I suggest the narrative form on Birmingham's ethnic minorities has persistently made apparent forms of co-existence which flag up a discontinuity between ‘diversity’ and the characterization of its ethnic minorities as an asset.

Keywords: Birmingham; characters; difference; multiculturalism; newspapers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XN, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2006


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