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Black middle-class Britannia

Identities, repertoires, cultural consumption

By Ali Meghji

Black middle-class Britannia

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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4307-5
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: October 2019
  • BIC Category: Sociology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination & Race Relations, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Society & social sciences / Social classes, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Society & social sciences / Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies, Society & social sciences / Sociology
  • Series: Racism, Resistance and Social Change

Description

This book analyses how racism and anti-racism affects Black British middle-class cultural consumption. In doing so, it challenges the dominant understanding of British middle-class identity and culture as being 'beyond race'.

Paying attention to the relationship between cultural capital and cultural repertoires, Meghji argues that there are three modes of black middle-class identity: strategic assimilation, ethnoracial autonomous, and class-minded. Individuals within each of these identity modes use specific cultural repertoires to organise their cultural consumption. Those employing strategic assimilation draw on repertoires of code-switching and cultural equity, consuming traditional middle-class culture to maintain equality with the white middle-class in levels of cultural capital. Ethnoracial autonomous individuals draw on repertoires of 'browning' and Afro-centrism, self-selecting traditional middle-class cultural pursuits they decode as 'Eurocentric' while showing a preference for cultural forms that uplift black diasporic histories and cultures. Lastly, class-minded individuals draw on repertoires of post-racialism and de-racialisation, polarising between 'Black' and middle-class cultural forms. Black middle class Britannia examines how such individuals display an unequivocal preference for the latter, lambasting other black people who avoid middle-class culture as being culturally myopic or culturally uncultivated.

Reviews

'A tour de force with original arguments, empirical richness and theoretical ambition, all presented in a beautifully crafted written narrative.'
Les Back is a Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London

'Black middle-class Britannia offers a fascinating portrait of race and class in contemporary London. Using the cultural world as a site to examine inequality, Ali Meghji shows how racial and class boundaries are both understood and navigated in varying ways depending on the identities of middle-class blacks. While some see the existence of middle class blacks as evidence that Britain is now color-blind, Black middle-class Britannia provides a timely and in depth counterpoint to this view.'
Patricia A. Banks, Associate Professor of Sociology, Mount Holyoke College

Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: Taking off the colourblind goggles: Crafting a study on Britain's Black middle class
2 Towards a triangle of Black middle class identity
3 White spaces: consuming traditional middle class Culture
4 Constructing and using Black cultural capital
5 Revisiting race and nation: double consciousness, Black Britishness, and cultural consumption
6 Race, class, and culture in the British racialised social system
Appendix: Building a reflexive case study of the Black middle class
References

Author

Ali Meghji is a Lecturer in Social Inequalities in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge

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