The New Hierarchies of Belonging
The journal article "The New Hierarchies of Belonging" by Professor Les Back and Shamser Sinha is now published in the August 2012 issue of the European Journal of Cultural Studies. It generates new conceptual ideas about hierarchies of belonging that characterizes the position of young immigrants in terms of differentiated levels of inclusions.
The article discusses the effects that the debate about the ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ is having on the regulation, scrutiny and the surveillance of migrant communities. Through the story of a young migrant it explores the ways that old hierarchies of belonging are taking new forms within the social landscape of contemporary London. This biographical case study is drawn from a larger qualitative study of 30 young adult migrants. Although the article focuses on a single case, its arguments are informed by the larger sample. The article argues that the debate about population mobility needs to transcend the ‘migrancy problematic’ and identify how the ordering of humanity works in a globalized and neo-liberal context. Combining insights from Stuart Hall’s recent writings and Franz Fanon’s lesser-known essays, the article argues that new hierarchies of belonging are established that replay aspects of colonial racism but in a form suited to London’s postcolonial situation.