City Research Online

Mapping Black mixed-race Birmingham: Place, locality and identity

Campion, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-8501-6479 (2021). Mapping Black mixed-race Birmingham: Place, locality and identity. The Sociological Review, 69(5), pp. 937-955. doi: 10.1177/00380261211006325


Utilizing narrations of urban space derived from interviews with 37 Mixed White and Black Caribbean people in the UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham, this article argues that place should be central to the theorization of mixed-race. Whilst Critical Mixed-Race Studies tends to privilege racial identity as the defining feature of the mixed-race experience, this article argues that mixed-race subjects identify with and through their respective localities to cultivate and perform their racialized identities. Drawing on personalized mental maps and routes through the city, the discussion sheds light on how conceptualizations of neighbourhood and territory are entangled with expressions of racial identity and belonging. By showing how the local histories, identities and characters of places come to be written on the bodies of mixed-race subjects, I demonstrate the power that place has in organizing social life and shaping identities. In doing so the article warns against the critical absence of place, and particularly the local, in empirical analyses of mixed-race identity. It suggests that for the development of de-essentialist understandings of mixedness which exist outside the realm of personal identifications, it is necessary to engage critically with place as an analytical framework.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023, the authors.
Publisher Keywords: city, Critical Mixed-Race Studies, identity, locality, mixed-race, place, urban
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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