This report for the Centre for Urban and Comminity Research at Goldsmiths has just come out.
It emerged from work undertaken for the Foresight Future of Cities programme, as a member of a team put together by COMPAS at the University of Oxford. The brief of that research project, to risk being reductive, was to examine the last fifty years of urban patterns of identity, belonging and citizenship, before trying to project those patterns forward across the next fifty years.
The Foresight Future of Cities programme focused on urban renewal, but specifically on the risk factors these processes may face, from flooding to riots.
However, after the project was completed, it struck the authors that their work on identity, belonging and citizenship – undertaken before the general election of 2015, before the referendum on UK European Union membership went to ‘leave’ and the whole subject became a white hot cipher in ‘Brexit’, and before the general election of June, 2017 – had a much wider use on a changing British landscape.
It strikes us that precisely because of what came after the Foresight Future of Cities programme, identity, belonging and citizenship is going to be one of the key intellectual sites for British researchers of all kinds in the next five to ten years. The work on Englishness now seems almost prophetic.
We have therefore taken steps to have this work updated and then to have it published in the hope that it might inaugurate necessary ongoing debates about identity, belonging and citizenship in Britain, as the island morphs into new subjective shapes.
There is no better place for this work to emerge at the start of 2018 than the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) at Goldsmiths. To connect this work to their roots, emerging somewhere between the Chicago and Frankfurt School, via crucial figures such as Paul Gilroy and Michael Keith, is to give the research a much needed politics.
Many thanks are due to Les Back, Director of the CUCR, for considering the report and providing a home for it.