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Thinking spatially: towards an everyday understanding of inter-ethnic relations

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Abstract:

In the context of a shift away from municipal multiculturalism towards community cohesion, and in the light of renewed debates around difference, national identity and Britishness, this article sets out a geographically informed theoretical framework which focuses upon the spatial (re)construction of racial and ethnic identities. The article develops the idea of the everyday as a way of viewing the spatially contingent, complex and negotiated state of inter-ethnic relations in a specific UK city. Not only does this reveal the manner in which strong and stubborn boundaries between social groups are entrenched through the (re)enforcement of spatialised relations of power, but also how accommodations across, between and within difference are realised. Through the employment of empirical material from Leicester, England, the article contends that everyday solidarities emerge from a number of intersecting spatial influences which do not equate to abstract or fixed versions of national belonging.

Keywords: belonging; community cohesion; everyday geographies; identities; inter-ethnic relations; multiculturalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14649360902853288

Affiliations: Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Society, Priestman Building, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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