Being Together: Everyday Geographies and the Quiet Politics of Belonging
AbstractA number of inter-related issues since the turn of the 21st century have resonated through domestic and foreign policies across the world: ongoing violences and the war on/of terror, various urban ‘racial disturbances’, economic austerity and an increasing hostility to immigrants across Europe. In the UK, this has resulted in both more repressive policies on immigration, and the acceleration of efforts to bring different communities together (Askins and Pain 2011). Among the latter, ‘community cohesion’ has become a central theme for social policy, outlined as the attempt to build communities with a ‘common vision and a sense of belonging’, in which diversity is valued, there are similar life opportunities for all, and positive relationships between people from different backgrounds within neighbourhoods (DCLG 2007). Given that this era is dominated by increasingly diverse migration (ONS 2013), heterogeneity and intercultural encounter is arguably more routine, raising speculation as to whether better appreciation and understanding of difference can move us towards a more ‘cosmospolitan’ society (eg. Simonsen 2008; Valentine 2008). However, such ‘superdiversity’ also has the potential to increase conflict between selves/others, namely, in the UK, between majority white and minority and migrant communities of colour. Back (2007) argues that ‘the immigration line’ has replaced ‘the color line’ as humanity’s key challenge in the 21st century.
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