New on the Identities Blog
On Gary Lineker’s tweet, the politics of comparison and denial of racism
On 7 March 2023, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman, escalating the rhetoric on and punitive approach to migration, asylum and refugees, announced the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ and strategy to stop migrants crossing the Channel in small boats by arresting, detaining, deporting and banning those caught. In response, former football player and BBC Match of the Day (MOTD) Presenter Gary Lineker tweeted that it is ‘an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s’.
From the institutions to the streets: the role of emotions in Barcelona’s migration control
In her essay The Cultural Politics of Emotions, Sara Ahmed raises the question: ‘What do emotions do?’, implying the social circulation of emotions. Even if felt by each individual in a unique way, emotions are addressed collectively, creating affective connections which in turn craft social realities.
Adaptation to climate change and the racial determinants of vulnerability
Motivated by a need to think in terms of consequences, the language of ‘adaptation’ has become key in approaches tackling climate change.[i] While discussion of adaptation has an older provenance, bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have adopted it with a justified urgency, and in ways that have seen adaptation enlisted by diverse actors – and across a variety of approaches – much as if it were a ‘chameleonic’ concept’.
Plundered seas in Senegal
As a scholar of migration who had spent several years doing research in Berlin, I have always been interested in the question of displacement in West Africa. I had met many migrants who had arrived from West African countries such as the Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau in Berlin. It is a well-known fact that significant numbers of people risk perilous journeys to reach Europe. Hence, in collaboration with two researchers I decided to conduct a study in Senegal in order to find out how, why and to what extent small-scale fishers become displaced.
Overseas young Taiwanese’ search for their own identity
In our Identities article, ‘I became a Taiwanese after I left Taiwan’: identity shift among young immigrants in the United States’, we seek to engage with transnationalism literature, which argues that migrants continue to remain concerned with their origin country. As our case study shows, successful assimilation into the host country does not mean migrants will relinquish their previous attachment. In fact, fresh experiences abroad might actually activate and intensify their homeland identity.
Racializing romance in relationships between Chinese men and white/Yang women in China
After China turned into a popular migrant destination, foreign-Chinese couples became a common sight on the streets of Chinese cities. In my early years of living in China, as a language student in Beijing (2005-2009), I already developed an interest in the romantic relationships I would later study as an anthropologist. My circle of friends included many Chinese-foreign couples, and our love lives were a favourite topic of conversation.
Ethnic minority children’s national identifications: the case of Belgium
In 2018, the research department of Awel, a Flemish civil society organization, published a report on the impact of the late terrorist attacks in Europe on the identity formation of minority youth. The report, based on testimonials, revealed that some Muslim children try to hide their ethno-religious background out of fear of being verbally attacked. Some even wish to ‘unbecome’ Moroccan or Muslim to respond to Islamophobia.
Remembering the past? Racialized narratives of local spaces
The Facebook group for my local area in Manchester generally has messages about missing cats and people looking for recommendations for plumbers. But there are also messages asking ‘what is it like to live in the area’ from people thinking of moving there. This is a very ethnically mixed, relatively deprived area which has an equally mixed reputation. The responses to the queries often refer to reputational issues – and ones of history, suggesting that the area has/has not changed over time.
Kiss, don’t tell: inter-ethnic dating in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Young people in ethnically divided post-conflict societies are often happy to date across ethnic lines, notwithstanding its prevailing discouragement. My recently published Identities article, examines this in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which it takes as a typical case of an ethnically divided post-conflict society: young people struggle to meet other ethnic groups due to the high levels of segregation in society.
Contesting hybrid identity in Arab Anglophone women's narratives
‘Identity’ is probably amongst the most circulated terms in the academy and beyond. However, a critical reflection on the use of this term in the context of cross-cultural fictional narratives could reveal a major issue. Rather than representing a genuine state of human condition, the term has become a strategic means used by some minority writers to boost readership for their writings.
Relational emotions in migration administration
Migration enforcement is accompanied by emotions expressed by various actors – including the broader public, politicians and those targeted by practices such as deportation and detention – but also those of bureaucrats who implement policies. Emotions are addressed towards or expressed against a multitude of groups, such as asylum seekers or migrants with precarious legal status, as well as police officers and administrative and non-governmental staff.
Liberal academia’s limits in the study of radical political worlds
Thanks to decades of critical scholarship in the social sciences, it is now common for scholars to reflect on their positionality vis-à-vis research topics and subjects and to demonstrate awareness of the power structures that shape their knowledge production. While this often amounts to deliberations about one’s individual identity in terms of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, etc., scholars are rarely expected to question the ideological assumptions that underpin how they, both as individuals and as members of societies, make sense of the world.
Still an add on? Du Bois, whiteness and social science
‘We are now in the age of Du Bois’, declared Aldon Morris in his widely acclaimed study, The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. In this, Morris meticulously charts the intellectual contribution of Du Bois (1868-1963) to the social sciences broadly conceived, and sociology in particular, to argue that this remarkable figure could no longer been treated as peripheral, or an ‘add on’.
The importance of the social context as a strategy for self-continuity for emerging adults from the US and Brazil
A number of different aspects of identity are relevant to young people, from self-esteem, distinctiveness, self-concept, clarity, coherence and self-continuity. We recently published a paper in the Journal of Social Psychology Research on the importance of the social context as a component self-continuity. Using young adults (ages 19-25) from the US and Brazil, our latest research demonstrates that the social context, specifically our friends and family, is a novel, measurably distinct self-continuity strategy. In particular, the results from our study exemplify that relationships continue to play an important role in healthy identity development.
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