Ethnic Minorities and the Media: Changing Cultural Boundaries

By Simon Cottle | Go to book overview

DISCUSSION OF KEY TERMS
AND CONCEPTS

Diaspora/diasporic consciousness

Literally ‘to disperse’ or ‘scatter’, the term diaspora refers to the movement of populations and groups – whether forced or voluntary. Diasporic consciousness thus refers to the distinctive forms of consciousness associated with communities and groups that have experienced social and cultural dislocation and the complex forces of attachment and belonging, isolation and difference that are experienced in everyday life and which, to use W.E.B. Du Bois’s term, can result in a form of ‘double consciousness’ (see Gilroy 1993; Gillespie, this volume; Sreberny, this volume)


Ethnic minorities in the UK and the US

The presence of ethnic minorities in the US and the UK has been forged by historical and contemporary flows of people and the operations of power. Disparate native, immigrant, migrant and refugee groups and communities – some indigenous, some long settled, others newly arrived, yet others transitory and/or transnational and transcultural – today characterize these two societies. Ethnic minorities and dia- sporic communities are richly differentiated by different histories (and her-stories), the politics of exile and encounters with their ‘host’ societies and with each other. They are also characterized by different demographics, languages, religions, traditions, customs and internal processes of cultural negotiation, adaptation and change. Ethnic minority populations in both the UK and the US have experienced, and many continue to experience, structural inequalities, processes of disadvantage and racist discrimination in many areas of social activity and endeavour, and significant numbers also continue to confront harassment, personal violence and attack. These lived realities have been informed by the actions and policies of state, and generated struggles for civil rights and political participation (see Orni and Winant 1995; Solomos and Back 1996).

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