Changing Ethnic Identities


'The authors are keen to show that there is no monolithic 'black' subject position into which one can dragoon the complex diversities of ethnic identification in Britain... the research findings are interesting, and... the exercise is informative'

The Sociological Review

'as this research points out, we have to recognise that 'Britishness' can take many forms'

The Guardian

The British population includes over 3 million people with origins outside Europe. New cultures are taking root in and adapting to Britain and, as part of the new trend in 'identity politics', British race relations are increasingly being shaped by new forms of minority ethnic and religious assertiveness.

What are these new forms of identities? To what extent are they rooted in cultural difference? Or are they mainly a reaction to racism? Do different minority groups emphasise different aspects of their heritage, and how do they reconcile a commitment to those heritages with being British? This book represents the first comparative study based on original fieldwork covering two generations of Caribbeans and the main South Asian groups on what their ethnic background means to them. It examines the basis of ethnic identity in family life, community languages, religions, marriage choices and in experiences of racial exclusion and forms of political solidarity. It highlights the changes that have taken place and are taking place between the migrant and British-born generation, and challenges those who think in terms of the simplistic oppositions of British-Alien or Black-White. The authors conclude that we need a new view of Britishness and the varieties and forms that it can encompass; a Britishness which allows minorities to make a claim upon it, and to be accepted without having to conform to a narrow cultural norm.



1 Introduction

2 Family and Social Contracts

3 Community Languages

4 Religion

5 Marriage Partners

6 Difference, Commonality and Exclusion

7 Conclusion

References ISBN: 085374646X