CCIG Forum 24: ‘Mixing’/'Non-mixing’? The in/significance of race in mixed raciality, family narratives and welfare practices

CCIG Forum 24: ‘Mixing’/'Non-mixing’? The in/significance of race in mixed raciality, family narratives and welfare practices

Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance
Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Library Seminar Rooms 1 & 2
2011-12-06, 10:00-17:00Z

Keynote speakers: Chantal Badjiie (Editorial Lead on the Mixed Race Season on the BBC, TBC), Petra Nordqvist (University of Manchester), Monica Dowling (Open University).

That Britain has one of the fastest growing mixed race population in the world, with 3% of children under 16 being classified as mixed race and 10% of children under 16 living in a family with more than one ethnicity, is an accepted fact. What is less clear is whether this should be celebrated as evidence of a long history of tolerance and mixing among ordinary people, e.g. from the port cities of Cardiff, Liverpool, London, South Shields in the interwar period right up to the contemporary moment in all the major cities and towns, or whether it represents a major challenge to politicians, policy makers and practitioners across a wide range of services and the public at large. While the MOBO awards are an example of the former approach, the claims that multiculturalism has failed and the recent changes to the Adoption Statutory Guidance by the English government indicate the anxieties that continue to surround issues of race, ethnicity and culture. Added to this, research into the physical preferences of those seeking to start a family via methods of assisted conception suggests that ideas about and discourses of race and ethnicity inform these preferences, albeit in a benign and unconscious way.

How can these contradictory patterns be understood? What are their implications for how relationships and families are conceived and researched? What dilemmas of practice arise for those working in policy development and implementation in a wide number of health and welfare areas? What light can a psychosocial approach to the issues offer? What analytical traction and theoretical development can be gained from approaching the issue of mixed-raciality through the concerns of those involved in non-traditional modes of family and household formation, such as assisted conception? What gets lost and what gets brought into the foreground when we focus on the factors that get counted in ‘the mix’?

These are pressing issues for social scientists concern with questions of citizenship, identity and governance as much as they are for those concerned with the development of policy and practice equipped for the realities of contemporary Britain. Jointly convened by the Psychosocial and Families and Relationships Research Programmes of CCIG, this Forum will explore these issues.

For more information, click here.

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