Abstract: In the last few years, multicultural citizenship, once hailed as a solution to national cohesion, has faced increasing political and academic accusations of inciting segregation and group divisions. This has prompted a re-evaluation of different institutional and discursive arrangements of national citizenship and their impact on the integration of minority ethnic groups. This research into the history of Jewish integration into British society analyses the relationship between changing forms of British citizenship and the evolution of British Jewish identities. In so doing, it enhances our understanding of how citizenship policies affect minority selfrepresentation and alter trajectories of integration into mainstream society. The research draws on an historical and sociological analysis of the Jewish community in Leeds to reveal how the assimilationist and ethnically defined citizenship of Imperial Britain conditioned the successful Jewish integration into a particular formula of Jewish identity, `private Jewishness and public Englishness', which, in the second part of the 20th century, was challenged by multicultural citizenship. The policies of multiculturalism, aimed at the political recognition and even encouragement of ethnic, racial and religious diversity, prompted debates about private-public expressions of ethnic/religious and other minority identities, legitimating alternative visions of Jewish identity and supporting calls for the democratisation of community institutions. The thesis argues that the national policies of multiculturalism were crucial in validating multiple `readings' of national and minority identity that characterise the present day Leeds Jewish community. Employing a multi-method approach, the study demonstrates how the social and geographical contexts of social actors, in particular their positions within the minority group and the mainstream population, enable multiple `readings' of sameness and differences. In particular, the research explores how a wealth of interpretations of personal and collective Jewish identities manifests itself through a selective and contextualised usage of different narratives of citizenship.
Topics: Main Topic: Identity and Community, Assimilation, Multiculturalism, Citizenship, Cities and Suburbs
Abstract: The impact of multiculturalism on minority integration has been widely researched. Most studies have, however, focused on new migrant groups and less is known about the impact of multiculturalism on the identities of other longer-established minorities, such as Jews. This paper analyses the relationship between changing forms of citizenship and the evolution of Jewish identities in Britain. Drawing on qualitative research in the Jewish community in Leeds, the paper explores how the identities of Jewish immigrants were once streamlined to fit an assimilationist agenda and how the emergence of British multicultural citizenship enhanced and legitimated the renegotiation of their identities, thereby enabling the pluralisation of Jewish selves. It then considers the relevance of this case to contemporary debates about multiculturalism in Britain.
Abstract: The Jewish population living in Britain has commonly been depicted as a ‘model of integration’. This paper explores the social and spatial transitions made by the Jewish community over the course of more than a century of settlement and adaptation, with particular reference to Leeds. Using an historical perspective, the paper traces the changing ‘place’ of Jews in wider society in terms of their socio-economic status and how they construct themselves as a religious and ethnic minority in Britain. Drawing on a mixed methods approach, the paper reveals how Leeds Jews’ understandings of community, identity, integration and citizenship have evolved over time. The research uncovers diverse and complex interpretations of Jewishness and integration, which unsettle the idealised notions of community, the straightforward trajectory of adaptation, and unproblematic conceptions of identity embedded in the Jewish model of integration. The paper reflects on the implications of the Jewish experience for current debates and discourses on ‘race’, difference and social integration in twenty-first-century Britain.