‘To belong or not to belong': Is that the question?' Negotiating belonging in multi-ethnic London

 

Sofia Hamaz and Ellie Vasta

In the wake of terrorist bombings in London, Madrid and New York, and civil unrest in Northern England in 2001 and Paris 2005,  some political and media discourses have portrayed migrants and ethnic minorities as a threat to security, social cohesion and to the welfare system. In response to this perceived lack of integration, the ways in which migrants and ethnic minorities belong in and to Britain has come into question. In this paper ‘belonging’ is defined as feelings of community, home, acceptance and affiliation in and to spaces and places in and beyond the UK. Belonging emerges through the relationship between self and structure and is firmly placed within the idea that belonging requires a lens on the globally-oriented state and citizen. Our results indicate that in a transnational world in which both states and citizens act and experience belonging across national borders, the boundaries between here and there, abroad and at home, foreign and domestic, become rather blurred.

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