Significance In Post Modern Society


The corresponding essay would delve into the in-depth and comparative study of the concepts of race and ethnicity with specific emphasis on the delineation of the various primary ideas and the associated fundamental points and measures of academic perceptions which could assist the process of building better and more effective understanding of the significance of ethnicity and race in the determination of the role of individuals in the current post-modernist society. Furthermore, the study essay would be deliberative of the core constituents of different strands of racial ethnicity such as that of Orientalism and associated processes such as migration and differential effects of racial identity based psyche formulation on the general societal conditions of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the combined influence and impact of race and ethnicity on determining the prevailing situations within the UK social scenario. The study would also bring focus on the ethnic tension based issues which pervade the contemporary UK society and finally, would provide relevant perspectives from the legal standpoints of race, ethnicity discrimination and its impacts.

According to Arora (2018), the defining characteristic of race could be outlined in the form of the collection of constituents through which the different factions of the human species could be categorised or divided in accordance with the inherited or developed physical characteristics of the individuals and groups. In this respect, the most frequent factors which are utilised as racial types, could be considered as those which are based on specific visual traits such as hair types, facial feature, complexion of skin and others. According to the research of Back (2017), the postmodernist theoretical constructs developed from the 1960s onwards, critically acknowledge the fact that the racial identity and concepts of race had been historically as well socially constructed and this perception negates the previously construed idea within the United Kingdom that racial identity is nothing by a natural or biological characteristic which is immutable in nature. According to Bressey (2016), from the historical narratives, racial practices as well as ideologies acquired a specific social dynamism within the late 19th and early 20th Century within the United Kingdom and such developments had been instrumental in incorporating the racist philosophical elements within the institutional structures of the UK. This superseded the individual prejudices, discriminatory practices and hatreds which could be observed at the individual social units. In this context, Bulmer (2016) has observed that the previously prevailing notion of race had been based upon the contemporary understandings of geographically divided perspectives, in terms of the historical and spatial contextual approaches and such perceptions led to development of social constructs at UK which were both structured as well as institutionalised in their application. Such notions could be further elaborated from the perspective of Geographical and national perceptions working together and in tandem with each other to formulate the system of domination over colonial dominions with the purpose of privileged white racial identities getting established along different and particular boundaries.


Ethnicity and Culture

According to Emigh, Riley and Ahmed (2016), the meaning of ethnicity could be understood to be the perceptual category of any populace and this could be based on the various similarities such as shared historical lineages, societal values, commonality of ancestry and cultural perspectives as well as the sense of nationhood. Thus, ethnicity could be conceived as the status which has to be inherited form the social context to which any particular individual or group of individual could be related to. Hughey (2016) has defined the fact that shared heritages, on the social and cultural domains, could formulate the ethnic identity within the life of any specific individual. This could be further elaborated as the combined formative influence from the shared socio-cultural heritages, historical context, linguistic affinity including dialect based similarities and religious identities. From an academic perspective, the constitution of ethnic identity of any group of people is incumbent on a variety of factors including shared actual or perceptual homeland, theocratic symbolism, mythological heritages, cuisine related perceptions, artistic traditions and finally, through physical appearances.

On the other hand, the cultural contexts which contribute extensively in the development of racial identity of any population, including those which reside within the geographical boundaries of the United Kingdom, could be identified as the similarities in terms of historical foundations, frequent sharing of identical gene pools, similarity of shifts of evolutionary stages in terms of the social contexts and finally, as the process of acculturation.

Changing concepts of race

In the context of the United Kingdom, the research of Ifekwunigwe (2015) has outlined that the concepts of racial identities have undergone a modification with the progression of time. In the concurrent post-modernist era, the resonance of ethnicity has come to acquire the connotations immigrations from different countries into the United Kingdom, which had taken place mostly at the second half of the 20th Century.

Biological concept of ethnicity

The biological concept of ethnicity could be considered to be the breeding of specific populations, often at places which are geographically isolated, with the development of certain characteristics at greater frequencies in comparison to various other populations. However, this does not imply the complete reproductive isolation of that particular segment of the populace from the entire species.

Concept of Orientalism

According to Nayak (2016), the concept of Orientalism is determinable to be the process of perceiving the cultures and ethnicities of the Near-East or those of the Middle-East within a racially stereotypical perspective by the predominant European cultural discourses of the 17th, 18th and 19th Century. This involves the processes such as imagination, emphasising, exaggeration and distortion of such Asian cultures under consideration. The general perception of the Arabic cultures under the auspices of Orientalism could be determined as being exotic, mysterious, uncivilised and often dangerous in nature. According to Tolia-Kelly (2016), the renowned writer Edward Said had stated in his book Orientalism, that, the concept of Orientalism could be acknowledged as the primary acceptance of some basic tenets as well as features of the Arabic and other Middle Eastern cultures form stereotypical perspectives. This could be better elaborated as the contextualisation of the ethnic and cultural distinction between the Oriental and Occidental cultures through which the initiation of theoretical elaborations and literature composition could be performed. Such compositions are to be identified as epics, novels, political accounts and social depictions of the Oriental peoples, social dynamics, customs, psyche, religious orientation and others. Such fantasises are indirect indication of the racist subtleties which had been developed from the period of Enlightenment of Europe and gained pace during the colonisation periods.

Regarding the influence of the cultural contexts on the overall progression of the ethnic identity formulation concerning different groups and units of people, Weaver (2016) has outlined that it is frequently a possibility for various groups of people or even for individuals to relinquish their parent ethnic groups and accept the opportunity of becoming a part of any other such ethnic group. However, one significant exception could be highlighted in this regard concerning the existence of various ethnic groups or ethnicity concepts which could emphasise upon the factors of homogeneity as well as purity of racial denominations and lineages for accepting new members within the racially identifiable social frameworks. This is the backdrop, on which, the current scenario of migration and immigration of different ethnic populaces within the UK could be comprehended. In this context, it could be understood that the contemporary political as well as media based discourses have been influencing the employment of the concept of race in terms of contextualisation of the immigration and migration of ethnically non-British populace within the UK.

The racialization of the processes of migration has been greatly focused on by the contemporary tabloid media of the United Kingdom and the existing political discourse, including that of the media influenced administrative policies have been gradually shifting towards the greater implicit forms of racialization so as to conceal the evident aspects of such practices. According to Bulmer (2016), this gradual racialization of the migration and immigration based social discourses within the UK generally takes place with the invoking of the differential categories of race during the discursive as well as institutionalised practices which are oriented towards formulation of structural relationships amongst the social elements which formulate the general social fabric of the UK. Race and ethnicity, are utilised as social instruments to shape the realities which exist within the realm of the post-modernist era at the UK. The orientation of such race related consciousness formulation is to institutionalise and socialise the perception of the racially different or alien migrants, in the form of the psychologically perceptive “Other”.

Evidence of discrimination in UK Society

To this effect, the research of () has suggested that the element of “Desirability” concerning the existing scenarios of immigration and migration could be contextualised through the racial notion of “Whiteness”. According to Emigh, Riley and Ahmed (2016) the case in point could be outlined as the Immigration Act (1962) which established the exemption of immigrants arriving from Northern Ireland concerning the control of immigration processes which occurred in spite of the fact that Irish immigrants are neither citizens of the United Kingdom nor are they members of the Commonwealth countries. This has been a direct demonstration of the racial psychological perspective of the concept of “Whiteness” which had culminated in the stipulation of such an act. Hughey (2016) observes that this could be put into the comparative yet contrasting context that Commonwealth country based immigrants and migrants are consistently subjected to immigration control which are of much tighter measures and such legal measures have emerged out of the stipulations of the aforementioned act.

Concepts of Racism and anti – racism in modern social conditions of the UK

In this context, the research of Ifekwunigwe (2015), outlines some critical perspectives regarding the observed scenarios of racism and anti-racism based discourses within the concurrent social conditions of the United Kingdom. These could be considered to be recurrent combinations of different factors such as legislations formulated with the purpose of addressing the racist incidents, administrative policies and scientific rationale, which have culminated in the construction of the traditional formats of racism getting portrayed as unacceptable on the social levels. Such developments led to the proportionate reduction in the overt behavioural racism and this caused the advent of the propensity to deny the existence of racist intents within the UK social structures. However, this has been only a reduction and does not mean a complete eradication of the intents of racist orientations. Nayak (2016) has opined that through redefining the prospects of racism, the current UK social conditions have resorted to more subtle and indirect forms of racism in the light of the unacceptability of overt racism on the explicit social domain. According to Weaver (2016) this more subtle definition, which could be observed as the form of New Racism within the British society, contributes in the racial superiority doctrines which could underpin the concurrent social discourses of the UK. In this respect, Tolia-Kelly (2016) has stated that new language has been brought into utilisation concerning the representation of the modified and transformed versions of the traditional racist belief systems under which the previous concept of race has been altered in accordance to the conditions which could be exuded by the asylum seekers and immigrants of non-white ethnic lineages.

Statistical data on race and ethnicity in UK

According to Back (2017)the latest Census of the UK has outlined that 86% of the entire population of UK is comprised of the White populace and the rest is formulated by non-white groups. Out of this, 7.5% is comprised by groups with Asian ethnic lineage and this is the second largest ethnic group at the UK. The African migrants formulate the second largest ethnic group of 3.3%. The mixed ethnic groups compose of the 2.2% of the populace and out of the majority of the populace, 80.5% is comprised by ethnic British White groups and the Whites from other countries, who had migrated to UK formulate the second largest group within the majoritarian ethnic structure in the measure of 4.4%. The South-Asian Indian population amounts to 2.5% of the ethnic structure.

Global Railway versus Air


The preceding study has been reflective of the attempt by the Researcher towards a holistic analysis of the impact of race and ethnicity based cultural discourses within the UK society on the general social dynamics of the United Kingdom. In this respect, necessity to invest greater research efforts and resources towards future research processes to obtain better and more relevant and in-depth analytical perspectives concerning the study topic has been palpable. The research ambiguities regarding the determination of all of the subtleties of influence of ethnicity and race on the contemporary UK society are to be addressed in this regard with better performance of both qualitative and quantitative research in this direction.

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Reference List

  • Arora, R., 2018. Race and ethnicity in education. Routledge.
  • Back, L., 2017. New Ethnicities and Urban Culture: social identity and racism in the lives of young people. Routledge.
  • Bressey, C., 2016. New geographies of race and racism. Routledge.
  • Bulmer, M., 2016. Measuring race and ethnicity. In Social Measurement through Social Surveys (pp. 127-144). Routledge.
  • Emigh, R.J., Riley, D. and Ahmed, P., 2016. The Turn to Race and Ethnicity in the UK Censuses. In Changes in Censuses from Imperialist to Welfare States (pp. 121-146). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Hughey, M.W. ed., 2016. New tribalisms: The resurgence of race and ethnicity. Springer.
  • Ifekwunigwe, J.O. ed., 2015. 'Mixed race'studies: a reader. Routledge.
  • Nayak, A., 2016. Race, place and globalization: Youth cultures in a changing world. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P., 2016. Landscape, race and memory: material ecologies of citizenship. Routledge.
  • Weaver, S., 2016. The rhetoric of racist humour: US, UK and global race joking. Routledge.

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