Talking Race in Young Adulthood : Race and Everyday Life in Contemporary Britain book cover
1st Edition

Talking Race in Young Adulthood
Race and Everyday Life in Contemporary Britain

ISBN 9780367874735
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
166 Pages

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Book Description

At a time in which race lies at the heart of so much public debate, Talking Race in Young Adulthood comes at an important moment.

Drawing on ethnographic research with young adults in Manchester, Harries engages with ideas of the post-racial to explore how young adults make sense of their identities, relationships and new forms of racism, consequently revealing how and in what ways race remains a salient dimension of social experience. Indeed, this book presents news ways of thinking about how we live with difference, as Harries analyses the relationship between racism, generational identities and the spatial configurations of a city.

Offering a distinct contribution to the sociology of race, this book will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in fields such as Race and Ethnicity, Urban Sociology, Human Geography, Youth Studies, Cultural Studies and Social Anthropology.

Table of Contents

Chapter one – Introduction

The research

The book

Chapter two – The Conflicted City


The multi-layered city

The city

The ‘Other’ side of the city

Gorton, Longsight and Moss Side

Beyond the city



Chapter three - The imaginings of a ‘post-racial’ generation


A ‘post-racial’ generation?

The myth of sameness and the fantasy of non-racism

Other times and ‘Othered’ places

Mixing ≠ multiculture



Chapter four – Anticipating race: Race and the recognition of difference in encounters with diversity


Expectations of difference

No difference here

Contrasted spaces: encountering the white working class

Comfortable conceptions of difference

Proximities to difference

Learned encounters: the "unspoken code"




Chapter five – Going against the grain: resistance to identifications and the claim for multiple subjectivities


Starting from the point of misrecognition

White working-class identities

Being ‘different’ and undermining identities of difference

De-categorising identities

Reworking the label: claiming a multi-faceted identity

"I am not who I am supposed to be"


Chapter six – When is racism?


The problem of racism

Talking racism

Racism and the weight of categorisation

Social mixing: an inadequate counter to racism

Naming racism, naming racists



Chapter seven – Conclusion




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Bethan Harries is a Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Manchester, UK.


In this lively study of young adults, race and everyday multiculture Bethan Harries explores how new generations learn to live with difference. What is produced is a vibrant, engaging and ultimately hopeful study of modern day multicultural living. Stitching together rich narrative accounts from young adults, the author highlights how new generations talk about race and, in many cases, might work towards a post-racial future in which race is no longer a primary marker of difference. Critical of governmental approaches to integration and cohesion, Talking Race offers a far more compelling and enriching account of generational change, difference and urban conviviality.

Anoop Nayak, Professor of Social & Cultural Geography, Newcastle Unviersity, UK

Britain’s cities are more racially, ethnically, religiously and socially diverse than ever before and are the locus of both entrenched forms of inequality and hostility and post-racial conviviality. Talking Race provides an important intervention into theories of postrace, urban space and micro-encounters as they are lived and contested at the level of the everyday. It explores the complex terrain of negotiating race through the discourses of young adults, treading an empirically rich and theoretically nuanced path through the ambivalences, tensions and possibilities of contemporary urban multiculture.

Claire Alexander, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK