Black middle-class Britannia

Identities, repertoires, cultural consumption

By Ali Meghji

Black middle-class Britannia


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4309-9
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: October 2019
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Sociology, Society & social sciences / Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Society & social sciences / Social classes, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination & Race Relations, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes, Sociology
  • Series: Racism, Resistance and Social Change


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.

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