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The new countryside?

The new countryside?: Ethnicity, nation and exclusion in contemporary rural Britain

Sarah Neal
Julian Agyeman
Copyright Date: 2006
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  • Book Info
    The new countryside?
    Book Description:

    This book explores issues of ethnicity, identity and racialised exclusion in rural Britain, in depth and for the first time. It questions what the countryside 'is', problematises who is seen as belonging to rural spaces, and argues for the recognition of a rural multiculture. The book brings together the latest and most extensive research findings to provide an authoritative account of current theory, policy and practice. Using interdisciplinary frameworks and new empirical data, the book provides a critical and comprehensive account of the shifting, contested connections between rurality, national identity and ethnicity; discusses the relationships between ethnicity, exclusion, policy, practice and research in a range of rural settings - from the experiences of gypsy traveller children in schools to attempts to encourage black and minority ethnic visitors to National Parks and contributes towards establishing the 'rural-ethnicity-nation' relationship as a key consideration on political and policy agendas. The new countryside? is essential reading for students, academics and researchers in a wide range of disciplines including: sociology; geography; social policy; and cultural, rural and environment studies. It will also be an invaluable resource for practitioners and policy makers across a wide range of sectors and services.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-154-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations and tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. viii-x)
    John Solomos

    The study of race and ethnicity has been transformed beyond recognition over the past three decades. We have seen the emergence of new conceptual and empirical research by new generations of scholars that has opened up new arenas for research and has given voice to new critical perspectives in a field that was dominated by a limited range of analytical paradigms. Yet what also remains clear is that there are still a number of major absences in the research literature. Among the most important of these absences we can include the study of race and ethnicity within rural settings and...

  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. Notes on contributors
    (pp. xii-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Sarah Neal and Julian Agyeman

    In Kazuo Ishiguro’s wonderfulThe remains of the day, a 1950s-set novel about class, love and social change, the central character, Stevens, an ageing butler to a country house, embarks on tour of England’s West Country. Stopping outside Salisbury Stevens is advised by a local man to climb a hill for the view. Rather crossly (the hill is steep) he does so and encounters ‘ the most marvellous view over miles of surrounding countryside … field after field rolling off into the far distance. The land rose and fell gently and the fields were bordered by hedges and trees …...

  8. Part One: Notions of nation and national contexts

    • ONE ‘It goes without saying (well, sometimes)’: Racism, Whiteness and identity in Northern Ireland
      (pp. 21-46)
      Paul Connolly

      Northern Ireland is a predominantly rural region with the majority of its population (60%) living in villages, open countryside and small towns outside the two principal urban areas of Greater Belfast and Derry/Londonderry (DRD, 2001: 86). Characteristic of other rural areas across the UK, Northern Ireland is also an overwhelmingly White population. Data from the 2001 census estimate that there are only around 14,300 minority ethnic people living in the region, representing just 0.8% of the total population. Within this, the largest minority ethnic groups are the Chinese (4,100), followed by South Asians (2,500), Irish Travellers (1,700) and African Caribbeans...

    • TWO Place matters: Exploring the distinctiveness of racism in rural Wales
      (pp. 47-72)
      Vaughan Robinson and Hannah Gardner

      Researchers have, for some time, argued that there is no single racism in the UK, and that different racisms manifest themselves in different ways in different places at different times. In line with the research paradigms of the day, early work tried to demonstrate this statistically, by mining large data-sets. Schaefer (1975) and Robinson (1987) both used national data-sets to identify regional variations in the scale and form of expressed racism. Both found that the populations of different regions and cities had propensities to express racist sentiments that were significantly different. Robinson (1987, p 193) therefore concluded that the study...

    • THREE ‘Let’s keep our heads down and maybe the problem will go away’: Experiences of rural minority ethnic households in Scotland
      (pp. 73-98)
      Philomena de Lima

      Since the publication of Jay’s report (1992)Keep them in Birminghamand Fife Regional Council’s report in Scotland (1991)Race equality in Fifeand the plethora of reports that have followed, it has at times appeared a long and difficult process to persuade rural agencies and communities to acknowledge, let alone address, racism and racial discrimination. Despite growing evidence of rural minority ethnic households being more vulnerable to racism than their urban counterparts (Rayner, 2001) and calls from a range of agencies and individuals to develop a more strategic approach to addressing rural racism issues (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations...

    • FOUR Remaking English ruralities: Processes of belonging and becoming, continuity and change in racialised spaces
      (pp. 99-126)
      Sarah Neal and Julian Agyeman

      Local elections in England in May 2002 saw the British National Party (BNP) achieve its best electoral success when three BNP candidates became councillors in Worsthorne, a small, affluent Pennine village. TheIndependentcommented on how Worsthorne ‘with its village green, Gothic churches, two pubs and clematis-creepered gritstone cottages seems an unlikely outpost of racism’ (3 July 2002). However, during the last decade it has becoming increasingly clear that the success of the far right in the rural idyll that theIndependentdescribes is not as ‘unlikely’ as is imagined. While there has been a long tradition ofdis-associatingthe...

  9. Part Two: Ethnicities, exclusions, disruptions

    • FIVE Village People: Race, class, nation and the community spirit
      (pp. 129-148)
      Katharine Tyler

      When I was 10 years old I moved with my family from an ethnically diverse suburb in East London to a small wholly white, predominantly middle-class village in Leicestershire.¹ While growing up in Leicestershire, I travelled each day from my white village to ethnically diverse inner-city schools in Leicester. It is my experience of the spatialisation of race and place between the county and the city in Leicestershire that sowed the seeds of curiosity that led me to do the study discussed here. In this chapter, I draw upon anthropological fieldwork in a suburban Leicestershire ‘village’ to explore the ways...

    • SIX New countryside? New country: Visible communities in the English national parks
      (pp. 149-172)
      Kye Askins

      The 2001 census re-confirmed that England is a multi-ethnic society. Indeed, there has been much recent debate regarding ethnicity and difference, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, hybridity and multiple identities within academia, among policy makers and across the wider public realm in the UK. The Parekh Report (2000), in particular, addresses the complex political and social issues surrounding identity, citizenship, difference, cohesion and equality (see also Alibhai-Brown, 2001; Kundnani, 2001). However, these debates are invariably connected to the urban sphere, while the dominant representation of the English countryside continues to portray a racialised (white) country scene as a symbol of idyllic innocence and,...

    • SEVEN Visions of England: New Age Travellers and the idea of ethnicity
      (pp. 173-192)
      Kevin Hetherington

      This chapter consists of reprinted material from Kevin Hetherington’s bookNew Age travellers, vanloads of uproarious humanity(2000).¹ Drawn from two chapters, the edited extracts presented here scrutinise the particular formations of New Age Traveller identities in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s. Hetherington examines the processes of these identity constructions and in doing so reveals how notions of ethnicity, class and rurality are redrawn and intersect to produce a very different narrative of belonging to, and desiring to be in, rural spaces. It is a narrative that incorporates processes of bricolage and performativity and privileges the countryside as the...

    • EIGHT Issues of rurality and good practice: Gypsy Traveller pupils in schools
      (pp. 193-216)
      Kalwant Bhopal

      In the mid-1960s Tony Boxall (1992) took a striking series of photographs documenting the changing lives and fortunes of Gypsy Travellers in the Kent and Surrey countryside. These were notable for the levels of access obtained by Boxall, who had no previous connection with the Gypsy Traveller community, and also for the insight his pictures opened into a time of great change within the community. These were changes from a lifestyle that centred around horse-drawn transport to more conventional cars and vans and the changes undertaken by many families from a primarily nomadic lifestyle to one that was often settled....

    • NINE Rethinking rural race equality: Early interventions, continuities and changes
      (pp. 217-238)
      Perminder Dhillon

      This chapter highlights the key successes and challenges of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations’ Rural Anti-Racism Project in promoting race equality within the rural voluntary sector. It addresses the gaps left by the project and in light of more recent legislative changes and political priorities, examines a series of issues that need to be addressed in order that the current and emerging rural race equality initiatives are inclusive and relevant today.

      Agyeman (1989) highlighted the problems experienced by Black and minority ethnic communities in accessing the countryside. However, it was not until 1992, that the concept of ‘rural racism’...

  10. Afterword
    (pp. 239-248)
    Sarah Neal and Julian Agyeman

    Kye Askins’ chapter mentions an article in theGuardiannewspaper. As Askins critically notes, the article, ‘Countryside retreat’ by Raekha Prasad (28 January 2004), examined ethnicity and the countryside through the premise of the familiar absence of black and minority ethnic visitors. Prasad’s article includes short ‘interviews’ with six highprofile British black and minority ethnic figures about their autobiographic thoughts on the countryside. While Cloke (2004, pp 17-18) has detailed their accounts of racism, exclusion and uncomfortableness in rural areas, what some of these accounts also reveal is a significant rural relation; there is a positive rural presence in a...

  11. Index
    (pp. 249-256)