Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The European Dilemma: Institutional Patterns and Politics of �Racial� Discrimination, Work Package 1: Discriminatory Landscapes (UK)

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-00135


As this report highlights, in the British context definitions of 'immigrant' and 'ethnic minority' are highly contested and perhaps uniquely problematic. In the UK the term 'immigration' often features in anti-immigration or racist discourses. In the UK the vast majority of people from, for example, Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities are not, and are not regarded either legally or in the popular consciousness, as 'immigrants'. The notion of 'immigrant' is a heavily loaded concept that implies a strong notion of self and other, and as such is avoided where possible in this WorkPackage. The concept of 'ethnic minorities' is also becoming a very contested idea in academic writing, with many anti-racist authors suggesting that the term is grounded in the politics of a failed model of multiculturalism, which was more about assimilation than respecting differences. The notion of 'minority' is further problematized as it implies the existence of a (white) ethnic 'majority'.
Moving on from these initial, and pervasive problems of definition, this WorkPackage shows that there are some considerable gaps in existing knowledge about migrants, those who were born abroad but are now resident in the UK. Recent Home Office research into the impact of migration on the labour market has supported this claim, suggesting that there is very little systematic existing research into the outcomes and inputs of migrants in key social areas. However, even given that migrants are a relatively under-researched group in the UK, there are some significant contemporary studies into migrants' experiences in the labour market, with a range of statistical data produced about the 'inputs and outcomes' of migrant workers in the UK economy. Migrants, who now make up a greater proportion of the overall UK population than do minority ethnic communities (see below), fare generally worse than the native population in the labour market.

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