Conviviality and conflict: Pluralism, resilience and hope in inner-city birmingham

Karner, Christian and Parker, D. (2011) Conviviality and conflict: Pluralism, resilience and hope in inner-city birmingham. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37 (3). pp. 355-372. ISSN 1369-183X

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This paper examines the lived realities of ethnic pluralism, social marginalisation and activism in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, UK, which external media representations have tended to depict as lacking ‘community cohesion’ and fostering ‘parallel lives’. Drawing on qualitative interviews with local residents and entrepreneurs conducted over a three-year period, we challenge such representations and a defining characteristic of currently dominant integration discourses: their tendency to ascribe ‘community cohesion’ or its absence as absolute properties to localities. Contrary to such reifying classifications, our interview data reveal considerably more complex social realities defined by a series of ambivalences. The first ambivalence is between undeniable local conflicts and, simultaneously, the everyday ‘conviviality’ of boundary-crossings and inter-ethnic solidarities. Second, the local economy is shown to enable both cohesion and ethnic exclusion. Finally, local politics and religious practice also display contradictory tendencies towards boundary maintenance on the one hand, and new inclusive alliances on the other. The emerging picture of Alum Rock not only challenges rigid taxonomies implied by ‘community cohesion’ discourses but also poses important questions about inter- and intra-ethnic networks, religiously underpinned social capital, the locally ‘embedded’ market, perceptions of social change, and an ideologically heterogeneous local civil society.

Additional Information:cited By 53
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:39547
Deposited On:17 Jan 2020 11:37

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