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Interrogating Segregation, Integration and the Community Cohesion Agenda

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
DatePublished - Nov 2009
Issue number9
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)1397-1415
Original languageEnglish


The notion of segregation in its current application in British social policy confuses rather than illuminates social processes. While its historical roots lie in a discriminatory practice that was legally instilled in the US, current usage implies the self-segregation of minority ethnic groups. This paper examines the historical legacy of segregation in the US and UK to argue that a shift has occurred in the discourse surrounding the integration of ethnic minority groups, particularly British Muslims. Any attempt to advocate desegregation as a way to promote material equality has been replaced by its use to promote the removal of cultural difference. Contemporary British social policy has taken this further by advocating the necessity of social capital as a means to achieve community cohesion and shared values, further shifting emphasis away from material difference.

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