What’s white about multiculturalism? Exploring everyday multiculturalism, prejudice and targeted hostility with young white British people in Leicester
thesisposted on 05.12.2014, 15:45 by Stevie-Jade Hardy
This study used the concept of everyday multiculturalism to explore how young White British people interpret, negotiate and engage with diversity and ‘difference’ in Leicester. Young people’s views and experiences were captured through employing an ethnographic strategy which facilitated observations, informal conversations and interviews, documenting auto-ethnographical experiences and questionnaire completion. The findings illustrate that the majority of young White British people living in Leicester view multiculturalism, in its ideological form, as being positive for England. However, when the sample was asked to reflect upon their own ‘everyday’ experiences of engaging with people from different backgrounds, the lived reality appears quite different. The findings demonstrate that the ways in which young people encounter and interact with diversity in mundane social spaces can be undermined by fear, prejudice and hostility. At its most extreme this unfamiliarity with ‘difference’ can motivate young people to actively disengage with the multicultural population around them. The intolerance and resentment towards ‘difference’ can be understood as the result of an interplay between socio-economic status frustration, a heightened importance of identity and place to certain groups of young people and the micro-multicultural context. Finally, this study used the concept of everyday multiculturalism to understand the motivation and causation of acts of targeted hostility, incidents in which the victim is selected on the basis of their perceived ethnicity or religion. This study demonstrates that incorporating the concept of everyday multiculturalism within existing theoretical explanations of targeted hostility, achieves a more sophisticated understanding of the real-life situational cues and contexts which give rise to acts of targeted hostility. It is only through a closer engagement with the real lives of young people that a more empirically rooted understanding of targeted hostility can be achieved, and more effective policy and practice recommendations can be developed.