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Respectability and boundary making on a superdiverse housing estate: The cross-racial deployment of intra-ethnic stereotypes

Rosbrook-Thompson, J. & Armstrong, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-4155-0813 (2022). Respectability and boundary making on a superdiverse housing estate: The cross-racial deployment of intra-ethnic stereotypes. British Journal of Sociology, 73(2), pp. 259-272. doi: 10.1111/1468-4446.12922


This article examines how white British residents of a superdiverse London housing estate learn about—and subsequently deploy—the intra-ethnic stereotypes used by their British Pakistani and British Bangladeshi neighbours/flatmates. Building on recent attempts to bring together conviviality and boundary making, along with insights into intra-ethnic othering, we show how, for white British residents, these stereotypes offered the chance to add detail and authenticity to judgements about the “unrespectable” behaviour of British Asian residents and/or visitors. Ultimately, however, white British residents' inappropriate and/or imprecise deployment of these stereotypes in relation to British Bangladeshis and British Pakistanis led to the misidentification of low-status people and the unfair extension of discrimination faced by low-status individuals and families. Furthermore, the combination of clumsy application and the positioning of “respectable” British Bangladeshis and British Pakistanis as purveyors of “insider knowledge” about intra-ethnic stereotypes led to the reinscribing of boundaries between racial groups. We conclude that studying the cross-racial use of intra-ethnic stereotypes allows for a subtler appreciation of the complex dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in superdiverse areas.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. The British Journal of Sociology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of London School of Economics and Political Science. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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