The Situated Politics of Belonging


Edited by: Nira Yuval-Davis, Kalpana Kannabiran & Ulrike Vieten

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  • SAGE Studies in International Sociology


    Julia Evetts, University of Nottingham, UK


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    This volume, The Situating Contemporary Politics of Belonging, is an outcome of an international conference that took place in London on the 25–27 August 2004. Together with its sister publication, the special issue of the journal Patterns of Prejudice on Boundaries, Identities and Belonging, this volume includes chapters developed out of the presentations during the conference.

    The conference was organised as a combined interim conference of two research committees of the International Sociological Association – RC 05 on Ethnic, Race and Minority Relations and RC32 on Women in Society. The presidents of the two RCs, Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis and Prof. Kalpana Kannabiran respectively are two of the editors of the volume. The third editor, Ulrike M. Vieten, a PhD student of Nira Yuval-Davis, also played a major role in organising the conference.

    Our thanks go to the International Sociological Association Publications Committee and Sage Publications that enabled us to produce this volume. However, this would not have been possible without the support of the University of East London, Asmita Resource Centre for Women, Secunderabad India and the British Sociological Association, which provided the necessary support and made the conference possible.

    Biographical Notes

    Dr Nadje Al-Ali is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. Her research interests range from women's movements and civil society in the Middle East to issues related to Muslim migrants and refugees. Her recent research revolves around gender, transnational activism and political transition in Iraq. Her publications include Gender, Secularism and the State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women's Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and New Approaches to Migration: Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home (edited volume with Khalid Koser, Routledge, 2002). Her forthcoming book is A Modern History of Iraqi Women (Zed 2007). She is a member of Women in Black, UK and a founding member of Act Together: Women's Action on Iraq.

    Floya Anthias is Professor of Sociology at Oxford Brookes University. Her work spans the study of racism, ethnicity, class, gender and migration. Recent research includes exclusion and identity, self-employment amongst women and minorities and the life chances of the children of ethnic entrepreneurs. As well as numerous articles in refereed journals, she has published many books. Her latest books are Gender and Migration in Southern Europe (co-edited Berg, 2000) and Rethinking Antiracisms: From Theory to Practice (co-edited Routledge, 2002).

    Dr Gurminder K. Bhambra is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Social and Political Thought programme in the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex. Her research focuses on social explanation, postcolonial theory and history, and the politics of knowledge production.

    David Chandler is Professor of International Relations at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster. His books include: Constructing Global Civil Society: Morality and Power in International Relations (Palgrave, 2004); From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Intervention (Pluto, 2002); and Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton (Pluto, 2000).

    Dr Alice Feldman lectures in the School of Sociology at University College Dublin. She co-directs the Migration & Citizenship Research Initiative and is a co-founder of the Identity, Diversity & Citizenship Research Programme, both based in the Geary Institute at UCD ( Her research addresses the dynamics of ethnic diversification and social change in European societies. In addition to work on Irish identities and subjectivities, current projects examine the development of migrant-led civil society organisations and the implications of ‘intercultural capital’ for integration, anti-racism and social inclusion policies and practices. This work will be published in a forthcoming book, AlieNation: Migration, Belonging and Social Change in Ireland. Other research has centred on religious discrimination in England and Wales, and on post-colonialism, indigenous peoples' movements and self-determination rights.

    Robert Fine is Chair of the Department of Sociology and convenor of the MA in Social and Political Thought in Warwick University. His books include Democracy and the Rule of Law (republished in 2002) and Political Investigations: Hegel, Marx, Arendt (2001). Among others, he has co-edited People, Nation and State (1999). He is currently engaged in research on cosmopolitan social theory and has an ESRC funded project on humanitarian military intervention.

    Dr Louise Humpage is a Lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Auckland New Zealand. Having recently returned from Australia, her research interests in the areas of refugees, indigenous peoples and social policy are now based in both Australia and New Zealand.

    Dr Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe was formerly Reader in Anthropology at the University of East London (UK) and is currently a visiting scholar in the Cultural Anthropology Department at Duke University (USA). Her research interests include comparative ‘mixed race’ theories and identities politics, feminist, (post)colonial and transnational genealogies of the African Diaspora and the discrepant management of public memories in cultural and heritage tourism. She has conducted ethnographic research in the US, the UK and most recently in South Africa, where she deployed visual and ethnographic methodologies to explore the interface between nation-narratives and tourist-tales in emergent cultural and heritage tourism industries in Cape Town. She has published widely on these issues. Among her most recent publications are Scattered Belongings: Cultural Paradoxes of ‘Race’, Nation and Gender (Routledge, 1999) and the edited ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: A Reader (Routledge, 2004). At the moment, she is working on a new book project entitled Out of Africa (‘By Any Means Necessary’): Recent Clandestine West African Migrants and the Gendered Politics of Survival. She was recently elected to the Executive Board of ASWAD (Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora).

    Kalpana Kannabiran is Professor of Sociology at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad India and founder member of a women's collective, Asmita Resource Centre for Women. She is the current President of RC32 (Women In Society) of the International Sociological Association. Her areas of specialisation are Sociology of Law, Jurisprudence and Gender Studies. She has co-authored a volume of essays, De-Eroticizing Assault: Essays on Modesty, Honour and Power (Stree, Calcutta 2002), co-edited Muvalur Ramamirthammal's Web of Deceit: Devadasi Reform in Colonial India (Kali for Women, New Delhi, 2003) and edited The Violence of Normal Times: Essays on Women's Lived Realities, (New Delhi: Women Unlimited in association with Kali for Women, 2005).

    Dr Greg Marston is a Lecturer in the School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences, University of Queensland Australia. Greg is undertaking research in the areas of income support, employment services and refugee policy.

    Mica Nava is Professor of Cultural Studies at the School of Social Science, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London, UK. Her publications include Changing Cultures: Feminism, Youth and Consumerism and Modern Times: Reflections on a Century of English Modernity. She is currently completing the work Visceral Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Culture and the Normalisation of Difference, due to be published by Berg in 2007.

    Dr Nirmal Puwar is a Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has published widely on the dynamics of space and bodies in relation to ‘universal’ speaking positions and the somatic norm. Her works include

    Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place (Berg, 2004), South Asian Women in the Diaspora co-edited with P. Raghuram (Berg, 2003) and a special issue of Fashion Theory on Orientalism with N. Bhatia (Berg, 2003). She is currently working on methodology, memory and materials.

    Gita Sahgal is the head of the Gender unit in Amnesty International. She has been a long-term broadcaster, a director of prize-winning documentary films and a journalist. She has written on issues of feminisms, racism and fundamentalisms. Among others, she has co-edited with Nira Yuval-Davis Refusing Holy Orders: Women and Fundamentalism in Britain (Virago, 1992; WLUML, 2002).

    Dr Zlatko Skrbiš teaches Sociology at the University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia. His publications include Long-distance Nationalism (1999) and Constructing Singapore (with Michael Barr, forthcoming 2006) and papers on diaspora politics, nationalism, cosmopolitanism and globalisation. He is vice-president of the Australian Sociological Association, and vice-president of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Ethnic, Race and Minority Relations.

    Dr Suruchi Thapar-Björkert currently holds a lectureship at the University of Bristol in the Department of Sociology. She has previously held teaching and research positions at the Development Studies and Gender Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research falls in three specific areas: Gendered Discourses of Colonialism and Nationalism, Gendered Violence in India and Qualitative Research Methodologies. She has published widely in refereed journals such as Feminist Review, Women's Studies International Forum, Journal of Gender Studies, Women's History Review and Oral History Journal. She has made several media presentations to Radio Feminist ATTAC, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC. She was a visiting research fellow with ACSIS and Tema Ethnicity, Linkoping University from October 2004 till January 2005. Her monograph, Women in the Indian Nationalist Movement: Unseen Faces and Unheard voices, 1930–1942 has recently been published with Sage, New Delhi.

    Ulrike M. Vieten is currently writing her PhD thesis (‘Situating Cosmopolitanisms’), supervised at the School of Culture, Social Science and Media Studies, University of East London, UK. Her teaching experiences include undergraduate seminars at the University of East London as well as workshops on ‘Romani and Sinti history and culture in Europe’ and ‘strategies of equality implementation’ (Hanover, Germany). She received her Master's degree in Gender and Ethnic Studies from the University of Greenwich (UK). She also holds a Master's degree in Social Science and has studied Labour and European Law in Germany. She co-published and contributed to the legal commentary on the Federal Gender Equality Legislation (Schiek, D. et al. (2002), Frauengleichstellungsgesetze des Bundes und der Länder, Frankfurt am Main: Bund Verlag).

    Nira Yuval-Davis is a Professor and Graduate Course Director in Gender, Sexualities and Ethnic Studies at the School of Social Science, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London. She is the current President of the Research Committee 05 (on Ethnic, Race and Minority Relations) of the International Sociological Association.

    Nira Yuval-Davis has written extensively on theoretical and empirical aspects of nationalism, racism, fundamentalism, citizenship and gender relations in Britain and Europe, Israel and other Settler Societies. Among her written and edited books are Woman – Nation – State (Macmillan, 1989), Racialized Boundaries (Routledge, 1992), Refusing Holy Orders: Women and Fundamentalism in Britain (Virago, 1992), The Gulf War and the New World Order (Zed Books, 1992), Unsettling Settler Societies (Sage, 1995), Crossfires: Nationalism, Racism and Gender in Europe (Pluto, 1995), Women, Citizenship & Difference (Zed Books, 1999) and Warning Signs of Fundamentalisms (WLUML, 2004). Her book Gender and Nation (Sage, 1997) has been translated by now to seven different languages. She is currently working on a monograph on Nationalism, Identity and the Politics of Belonging as well as on an ESRC research project on Identity, Performance and Social Action: The Use of Community Theatre among Refugees.

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