Understanding Ethnic Segregation in Contemporary Britain


Jamie P. Halsall
School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK

Series: Social Issues, Justice and Status, European Political, Economic, and Security Issues
BISAC: SOC008000

The population of ethnic minorities in Britain has rapidly increased over the last 60 years. The census count indicates that the ethnic population has grown from 3 million in 1991 to 4.6 million in 2001. Issues surrounding ethnic minorities have duly been concerned with education, employment and housing. In 2001, civil unrest erupted in England’s northern mill towns. The inquiries concluded that white and British Asian communities were living parallel lives. This was seen to be a failure within the communities and of social policy. Segregation was cited as a contributory factor.

Moreover, in 2005, Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, warned that Britain was sleepwalking into racial segregation, with white, black and British Asian ghettos dividing cities. To tackle the segregation problem, central government introduced the community cohesion policy with the aim of developing a better understanding of shared values between all origins of race, thereby celebrating ethnic diversity in Britain. The aims of this research were to consider whether British Asian communities are segregated and to examine the viability of current central government policy in promoting and securing greater community cohesion. Oldham in Greater Manchester was selected as the focus of the investigation.

This research shows that the causes of segregation, in the case study of Oldham, are clearly identified in four key areas. Firstly, historical events over the last 60 years have influenced and shaped the development of segregation between different groups, namely British Asian. Secondly, the economic and social transitions brought about by central government have been instrumental in bringing about segregation. Thirdly, local political control has further contributed to Oldham’s segregation. Finally, participants involved in this research were highly skeptical towards the community cohesion policy introduced in Oldham. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction: Setting the Scene

Chapter 2. Theoretical Concepts Underpinning the Research

Chapter 3. Ethnic Minorities, Segregation and Community Cohesion:
From a British Policy Context

Chapter 4. Oldham’s Background in Context

Chapter 5. Measuring Oldham’s Segregation in Statistical Terms

Chapter 6. Aspects of Oldham’s Segregation

Chapter 7. Addressing Oldham’s Segregation

Chapter 8. Conclusion: A Divided Future?




“In this in-depth study of segregation, ethnicity and the northern English city Jamie Halsall examines the debate over whether we are sleepwalking into a more segregated future, or whether the reality of change on the ground is not so easily turned into sound bites. Not afraid of making strong claims this study is both interesting to read and a timely contribution.” – <strong>Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, The University of Oxford</strong>

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