Orginal Publication Date
Ethnic Studies Review
Andrew Pilkington's Racial Disadvantage and Ethnic Diversity in Britain (2003) is a comprehensive and systematic study of race and ethnicity in contemporary Britain. The approach taken is decidedly sociological but incorporates an inter-disciplinary perspective, drawing upon areas such as History, Politics, Geography and Cultural Studies. In Chapter 1 the author makes a fine conceptual distinction between core concepts such as race and ethnicity and theoretically subscribes to the more dynamic social constructionist approach to ethnicity as an acceptable alternative to previous models. Racialization is invoked as an alternative problematic of racism to alert the reader to the dangers of reification that the 'race' concept engenders. A relevant socio-historical sketch of the impact of post-war migration and development of racial discrimination in Britain follows. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 focus on forms of institutionalized racism in the labor markets, housing and education, and their impacts on the life chances of Britain's ethnic minority groups with specific attention paid to Britain's two prominent ethnic minority groups, South Asians and Caribbeans. Chapter 6 focuses on identity transformations as a result of globalization, demonstrating the idea that identities are not 'fixed' but essentially hybrid. The book's anti-essentialist perspective on racial and ethnic identities adds to its overall theoretical and analytical currency, illuminating the way in which globalization dissolves boundaries and its impact on the destabilization of established identities. The last two chapters address managing diversity such as Britain's policy on racial inequality, specifically the interaction between citizenship and ethnic minority status and further the debates regarding how Britain can become a genuine multi-ethnic society.
Copyright ©ESR, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 2004