Diversity, Identity and Belonging: Women’s Spaces of Sociality

By Sue Jackson.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Questions of identity, diversity and senses of belonging have been central to debates about multiculturalism, citizenship and social cohesion. However, there are few studies which specifically examine women’s spaces of sociality and how these have contributed to new formations of identities. Developed from feminist and post-colonial theorisations, and drawing on empirical interview data from a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this paper explores identities for (primarily) ‘White’ and ‘South Asian’ women through the intersections of gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity with culture, religion and sexuality. It asks what aspects of identities, affiliations, ambivalences or antagonisms are manifested in particular contexts of socialising, and explores how the processes of social identification are played out in informal contexts of socialising. Through a rich source of interviews carried out in London, it demonstrates how postcolonial spaces of sociality in a major international city can be places of intimacy and bonding for women as well as places where ‘difference’ is constructed, enforced, resisted and performed.

Keywords: Identity and Diversity, Belonging, Postcolonial, Sociality, Women

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.147-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 566.840KB).

Prof. Sue Jackson

Professor, Faculty of Lifelong Learning, Birbeck, Birkbeck University of London, London, UK

I am Professor of Lifelong Learning and Gender and Director of Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck, University of London. My research interests span lifelong learning, gender, social class, and identities. I have recently published two books, Reconceptualising Lifelong Learning: Feminist interventions with Dr. Penny Burke (Routledge, 2007) and Challenges and Negotiations for Women in Higher Education, with Dr. Pam Cotterill and Professor Gayle Letherby (Springer, 2007). I am principal investigator on a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK, entitled Intersecting identities: Women’s spaces of sociality in post-colonial London, which forms part of the ESRC’s Identities and Social Action Programme.


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