CFP New Racisms: Forms of Un/Belonging in Britain Today

Alon Lischinsky alischinsky at
Thu Mar 13 09:36:11 UTC 2014

(With apologies for cross-posting.)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies in partnership with DEMOS presents
a day conference:

New Racisms: Forms of Un/Belonging in Britain Today


Les Back, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Melanie Friend: photographer, University of Sussex
Prof. Mary Hickman, St Mary's University, London
Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future
Refugee Action
The Refugee Council


The publication of the Parekh Report on the Future of Multi-Ethnic
Britain (Runnymede Trust 2000) sparked intense debate in Britain. In
response to the report's suggestion that Britishness carries
'systematic, largely unspoken, racial connotations', much of the
ensuing debate focused on the extent to which Britain is an inherently
multicultural and even hybrid nation. Britain was re-cast as being a
'nation of immigrants', where cultural diversity strengthens and
enriches the nation (Fortier 2005).  Hall has described this as
'multicultural drift' (Back and Hall 2009), a sense that British
society has irreversibly and incrementally moved away from its stable
and mono-cultural foundations; and yet there remain deep and
irreconcilable ambiguities towards some cultural differences and
minority groups. New 'hierarchies of belonging' have emerged in which
minority communities are positioned differently and afforded greater
or lesser degrees of tolerance and inclusion (Back, Sinha and Bryan
2012). For example, new migrants can be depicted as 'benefit
tourists', asylum seekers as a threat to national security, and even
long settled Muslim communities are increasingly subject to scrutiny
and suspicion as potential terrorists and a threat to British way of
life. This conference seeks to explore these processes of ordering,
and to attend to debates around inclusion/exclusion, belonging /
unbelonging, equality/inequality, power/resistance.  To what extent
are the new forms of globalised migration different from the colonial
and post-colonial migration of the past, and how is this giving rise
to racisms which are different from the past?

Since 2004 acquiring British citizenship has been tied to compulsory
integration measures: migrants must demonstrate their English language
skills and knowledge of British cultural values. This represents a
re-framing of integration away from the rights-based conceptualisation
of the 1990's, where the focus was on legal equality, security of
residence and social and political participation, to an identity issue
with migrants having to prove their willingness to commit  to the
'common values' and cultural traits of the host country. In these
debates there is assumed to be a set of dominant and clearly defined
British values (as articulated in the Life in the UK citizenship
test). These are set in opposition to migrant values which are left
unexplored, but generally depicted as of concern. But how is this
expectation to adopt a British identity, and espouse British values,
viewed and experienced from the perspective of the migrants
themselves, and how is cultural hybridity, or conflict, managed or

'Super-diversity' and the 'diversification of diversity' brought about
by migration (Vertovec  2007), has resulted in the multiplication and
increasingly complex axis of identification and difference. This is
not just about the addition of further variables of difference; it is
also about 'new conjunctions of interactions of variables' (Vertovec
2007:1025). Complex migration and asylum regimes further contribute to
diversification by giving rise to multiple legal statuses and varying
states of precariousness to more groups of people for longer (Zetter
2007). Identities are more complex and fluid reflecting shifting
allegiances and interests, and giving rise to new issues and
challenges. This has led some commentators to call into question the
relevance of ethnic categories and to argue that they no longer have
analytical purchase in the dynamism of today's urban multiculture.
Instead, it is argued that super-diversity brings the need for a new
politics of identity which transcends static ethnic categories
(Fanshawe and Sriskandarajah 2010).

We welcome papers on the following topics:

·       Immigration, migration and the media
·       New forms of racism, new figurations of 'race'
·       Emergent ethnicities and belonging
·       The rise of political parties and re/sentiments such as UKIP
·       Re-examinations of cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism/diversity
·       Stereotypes, visual images, and narratives of asylum,
migration and refuge
·       Cultural formations and religious formations that deploy 'race'
·       Complex political victims
·       The affects of racism

Papers should be no longer than 15- 20 minutes; please send 250 word
proposals to sccsnewracisms at by 31 March 2014.

We welcome creative pieces, to discuss please contact Conference
Directors s.r.munt at and l.m.morrice at
For any other queries about the conference please contact conference
organisers: We look forward to welcoming you to Brighton in May!

This conference is supported by Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies,
and the AHRC Cultural Values Project: Cultural Values from the
Subaltern Perspective: A Phenomenology of Refugees' Experience of
British Cultural Values.

This conference is being organised in conjunction with a Sussex Centre
for Cultural Studies event in honour and memory of Stuart Hall, which
will include a screening of John Akomfrah's film 'The Stuart Hall
Project', and a panel discussion

Stuart Hall's work, with Dr Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths) and Professor
Avtar Brah (Birkbeck). This will take place from 2-5.30pm on Thursday
8 May, and will be followed by a drinks reception.
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