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'Sleepwalking to segregation'?

'Sleepwalking to segregation'?: Challenging myths about race and migration

Nissa Finney
Ludi Simpson
Copyright Date: 2009
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  • Book Info
    'Sleepwalking to segregation'?
    Book Description:

    In the context of renewed debates about diversity and cohesion, this book interrogates contemporary claims about race and migration. It demonstrates that many of the claims are myths, presenting evidence in support of and in opposition to them in an accessible yet academically rigorous manner. The book combines an easy-to-read overview of the subject with innovative new research. It tackles head-on questions about levels of immigration, the contribution of immigrants, minority self-segregation, ghettoisation and the future diversity of the population. The authors argue that the myths of race and migration are the real threat to an integrated society and recommend that focus should return to problems of inequality and prejudice.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-441-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables, figures and boxes
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    Race and migration have never been far from the top of Britain’s political and media agendas in the first decade of the 21st century. As in the 20th century, the question is how a successful diverse society can be created. This question is a difficult one, and an important one, because it determines people’s opportunities and experiences, it affects the order of society and the identity of society. In recent years, the question has become shrouded in pessimism; and the pessimists see a future of division and conflict, with British society sleepwalking to segregation, amid a culture clash brought on...

  6. 2 Making sense of race statistics
    (pp. 23-46)

    In Britain and the US, the terms ‘race’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘ethnic group’ and ‘ethnic minorities’ are now ubiquitous in politics and social science alike, with abundant statistics to match. But less than 50 years ago, Britain’s chief government statistician ruled that it was impossible to measure in a census what was then termed ‘coloured’. Britain is still the only country in Europe to regularly make such measurements in national inquiries. The measurement of ethnicity remains a contentious issue because the question of what is being measured is inseparable from the (political) purposes for which the statistics are intended. The historical development...

  7. 3 Challenging the myth that ‘Britain takes too many immigrants’
    (pp. 47-72)

    For MigrationWatchUK, immigration is the source of Britain’s major problems. Their views are shared by others and their spokesperson consulted whenever immigration is in the news. The solution they campaign for is an annual limit so that immigration is no more than emigration. But is it really that straightforward? In a globalised world where travel is commonplace, shouldn’t we expect more migration and less rigid borders? Does Britain really take more immigrants than other countries? Is population growth because of immigration actually a problem? Is immigration in fact economically costly?

    The sense that immigration and immigrants are a major problem...

  8. 4 Challenging the myth that ‘So many minorities cannot be integrated’
    (pp. 73-90)

    The view that integration of immigrants is not possible is among the most prevalent and pervasive of the race and migration myths. It is at the heart of much anti-immigration and anti-minority sentiment in contemporary Britain. Like all persistent myths it benefits from poor definitions and imprecise concepts.

    Chapter Three discussed claims that immigration is the main cause of population growth; that Britain takes more than its fair share of immigrants and that immigration is economically costly. This chapter investigates first the claim that immigrants cannot be integrated because they place too great a burden on space, housing and state...

  9. 5 Challenging the myth that ‘Minorities do not want to integrate’
    (pp. 91-114)

    This chapter addresses a fear that there is an unwillingness to integrate among minority ethnic populations. The fear is that this ‘self-segregation’ maintains and exacerbates geographical and social segregation and is a source of potential conflict.

    As Chapter Six will show there are no ghettos in Britain, and migration patterns are not ones of retreat or flight but rather of suburbanisation and moves out of cities, which are being experienced irrespective of ethnicity. This migration is resulting in increasing numbers of areas that are ethnically mixed. Nevertheless, the fear of minority self-segregation persists and five aspects of it will be...

  10. 6 Challenging the myth that ‘Britain is becoming a country of ghettos’
    (pp. 115-140)

    This chilling evaluation from Trevor Phillips in 2005, then the head of Britain’s government race relations body, instils a sense of fear about the nature of minority ethnic residential concentrations, ‘marooned outside the mainstream’. His comments made international headlines when they were released ahead of their delivery at a speech to the Manchester Council for Community Relations, and stoked debate about segregation and diversity. The debate had begun in 2001 when reports into riots in northern English cities talked of ‘self-segregated’ cities ‘gripped by fear’, and pointed to isolation and competition between ethnic communities, so segregated that an Asian interviewee...

  11. 7 Challenging the myth of ‘Minority White Cities’
    (pp. 141-160)

    Concerns about the consequences of immigration and residential segregation converge in a spectre of ‘Minority White Cities’, where White residents make up less than half of the population. There is a fascination with the year in which particular cities will lose their White majority both from those whose work encourages ethnic diversity and those who fear lack of integration. Thus, publicity from a global forum on Cities in Transition was headlined by the wholly unsubstantiated claim that ‘Birmingham is set to join Toronto and Los Angeles as a “majority-minority city” by 2011’ in order to raise questions for planning: ‘What...

  12. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 161-176)

    Myths about migration and race have been discussed separately in the chapters of this book. But the separate myths are often joined together as a larger cohesive story that describes the dangers of too much immigration, of segregation and of strongly independent ethnic communities. This larger story can be described as a litany, because of the way the dangers are repeated as a guide to policy, without reference to current and lived reality. The litany goes like this: ‘Immigrants are a burden, taking jobs and resources, living piled together in segregated areas; segregation prevents integration, clashes with British culture, heightens...

  13. Myths and counterarguments: a quick reference summary
    (pp. 177-192)
  14. References
    (pp. 193-210)
  15. Index
    (pp. 211-218)