Patterns of minority and majority identification in a multicultural society

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2015


There has been increasing investigation of the national and ethnic
identification of minority populations in Western societies and how far
they raise questions about the success or failure of multicultural
societies. Much of the political and academic discussion has, however,
been premised on two assumptions. First, that ethnic minority and
national identification are mutually exclusive, and, second, that
national identification forms an overarching majority identity that
represents consensus values. In this paper, using a large-scale
nationally representative UK survey with a varied set of identity
questions, and drawing on an extension of Berry's acculturation
framework, we empirically test these two assumptions. We find that,
among minorities, strong British national and minority identities often
coincide and are not on an opposing axis. We also find that adherence to
a British national identity shows cleavages within the white majority
population. We further identify variation in these patterns by
generation and political orientation.

Published in

Ethnic and Racial Studies

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 38 , p.2 -2






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