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Title: Citizenship and double consciousness : Muslims and multiculturalism in Britain
Author: Meer, Nasar
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis makes both a theoretical and empirical contribution to the study of Muslims and multiculturalism in Britain. It specifically uses the work of the African-American thinker, W.E.B. Du Bois, to theorise how what I call 'Muslim-consciousness' connects to certain Muslim mobilisations for an improvement in their 'civic status'. Muslim-consciousness is characterised as the advent of salient Muslim identities that are being adopted and deployed in various permutations by many Muslims themselves. The emergence of Muslim-consciousness is examined at length with reference to debates concerning race, religion and ethnicity. Civic status, meanwhile, is understood to be derived from various conceptions of citizenship. It is argued that under the terms of a peculiarly British multiculturalism, a differentiated citizenship has prevailed for some minorities, which has recognised or supported some minority identity related particularities, and has helped to achieve an elevation of these minorities' civic status. The first part of the thesis explores these issues theoretically, before empirically investigating them in the second half of the thesis through the use of multi-method case-studies (including primary interviews, documentary evidence and discourse analysis). More specifically, the second half focuses upon salient Muslim mobilisations for the state funding of Muslim schools, discrimination legislation and a 'positive' public and media representation, as arenas in which Muslims are currently seeking an elevation of their civic status. It is argued that an exploration of what is termed Muslim-consciousness, within and amongst some Muslim communities themselves, alongside the way in which this consciousness is understood politically (at both an official, governmental, level as well as discursively in public and media commentary), allows us to observe the operation of at least two types of minority consciousness. According to this thesis, these types of consciousness have previously been theorised by what is called the 'Hegelian Du Bois', and comprise the movement from a consciousness that exists in itself, and which is derived from the treatment of a dominant party, to a consciousness that exists for itself, and which, as such, is capable of mobilising on its own terms for its own interests. In Du Bois' terms, this consciousness risks turning in on itself, and becoming a 'double consciousness', when it is benignly ignored or malignly coerced. These distinctions are framed within a schema taken from Du Bois and become progressively 'thicker' in capturing (a) the political dimension in which Muslim consciousness in Britain is formed, (b) the nature and content of this consciousness in and for itself, alongside (c) the transformative potential it heralds for society as a whole. The thesis ends with a typology of contemporary Muslim-consciousness in Britain, before looking forward to emerging research agendas on these topics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available