Still Not Easy Being British
Tariq Modood – University of Bristol
Tuesday 12 June 2012, 4.30pm-6pm, John Goodsell Building, Room LG19
Contrary to what many academics and others think, multiculturalism is not only not anti-nationalist but is actually a nation-building project, i.e., creating a new pluralist, difference-accommodating, fluid national identity. This paper explores how discussions of British national identity have become central to multiculturalism and how, contrary to appearances and most commentators, multiculturalists are winning the argument in relation to the view that British national identity can be and should be actively modified and that the state has a role to play in this. This is illustrated by reference to some ‘then and now’ contrasts by reference to: my 1992 collection of essays, Not Easy Being British and their sequel,Still Not Easy Being British (2010); to the negative reception of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, 2000 (the Parekh Report) and the way that senior British politicians have spoken about British identity in recent years. They used to speak of it as something changing very slowly; then, changing by itself; and now, as something that needs to be actively changed.
Professor Tariq Modood is the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol and founding editor of the international journal, Ethnicities. He has led many research projects on ethnic minorities and Muslims in the UK and in Europe and has published extensively on these topics, especially on the theory and politics of multiculturalism, and the politics of being Muslim in the West. His recent books include Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2007), Still Not Easy Being British (2010), and (co-edited with Geoffrey Brahm Levey) Secularism, Religion and Multicultural Citizenship (2009). He is a regular contributor to the media and to policy discussions and was a member of the National Equality Panel and of the IPPR Commission on National Security. He was awarded an MBE for services to social science and ethnic relations in 2001 and elected to the British Academy of Social Sciences in 2004.
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