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Research Projects

Open City

Political Participation, Race and Power

Rethinking the Boundaries of Race and Racism

Open City

I am currently the PI for an ESRC funded project on the Open City, which is focused on London. The project is a collaborative one, involving Professor Michael Keith (University of Oxford), Professor Steve Pile (Open University) and Professor Karim Murji (University of West London). The project has two research staff, Dr Ying Wang and Dr Eda Yazici. It will also involve two Creative Fellows at certain stages of the project.

In this project we use the appeal to the open city to offer an expanded approach to the churn of people in the city to include the full range of movement and mobilities. The project will work with a variety of individuals. This will include housing estate residents, community groups and social movements (such as migrants’ rights and tenants’ groups), local authority staff and London government staff and representatives.

Using London as its case study, the project will explore how the city accommodates new forms of urban life, through the social configuration Tenants Association of its spaces and places and look at the ways urban government at the city-wide and borough scales reflect, promote or limit the idea of the Open City. It is through interrogating the limits of the open city that we wish to draw the separate lenses of urban literature into a single focus.

 The project brings together the sociologies of urbanism and city life, the geography of city life, migration studies and the relationship between policy and politics. Drawing these disciplinary traditions together allows the project to contribute to and develop debates and theories in a range of interdisciplinary research areas. The project aims to reconceptualise urban theory and migration and ethnic studies.

Political Participation, Race and Power: Diversity and Representation

The project focuses on the changing forms of black and ethnic minority political representation in Britain. Combining a robust theoretical framework with qualitative empirical research the project focuses on both developing an account of what has been achieved thus far, in the form of increased forms of representation at both national and local levels and on exploring the on-going conversation about what needs to be done if Britain is to become a fully multicultural democracy. The projects's ambition is to make an original and agenda setting contribution to our understanding of diversity and political representation.

Rethinking the Boundaries of Race and Racism

This is a programme of research that I have been working on for the past few years and it aims to systematically analyse the shifting boundaries of research and scholarship on race and racism during the period since the 1980s. The choice of this period has been made because it represents the period during which this area of scholarship has become fully embedded in the social sciences and humanities.

There has been a noticeable expansion of scholarship and research in this period and it has been accompanied by intense conceptual controversies and political and policy debates. As a result of these trends we have seen the establishment of race and ethnic studies as a major field of interdisciplinary scholarship and research, with identifiable bodies of theoretical paradigms and increasingly globalised bodies of empirical research.

In focusing on this period the proposed programme of research will produce a body of knowledge that will contribute towards a more systematic understanding of the development of this field of scholarly research and link up with my earlier research on various facets of racial and ethnic issues during the past four decades. A key concern of this on-going research project will be to provide a basis for a better understanding of the kinds of research agendas that will need to be developed in order to provide a conceptual and empirical grounding for leading edge research in the future. A particular focus of the proposed project is to provide avenues for generating more dialogue across both national and disciplinary boundaries in this area of research.