Constructing Community in South Wales: Migration and Social Cohesion In Cardiff

Terry Threadgold
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The title of this paper is the title of a Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project which is in progress in 2005-6 in Cardiff and on which I am the lead researcher. The title is one which I constructed around the terms which the Foundation had used in its call for bids for funding. The terms themselves are interesting, assuming as they do a global mobility of bodies (migration) inwards into Cardiff, where a certain stasis is assumed to follow: ‘community' will be the result, fixed somehow in place, and this ‘community' in an ideal world will, it seems, be ‘socially cohesive'. And here there are more assumptions of ‘hosts' ready (or not) to receive ‘newcomers' and of necessary ‘cohesion' between the two, old and new, if the ‘social' is to remain intact.
Part of this paper will be about the details of this project and the first six months of the research. I will use the research to deconstruct most of the terms of this working title and to question the discourse of which they are all a part. This is a discourse, or a series of overlapping discourses, which continues to use the language of (im)migration, and of ethnicity and race, in ways which reify difference. At the same time it makes invisible the global diversity, localised in everyday lives, which now constitutes cities like Cardiff. This was something that Saskia Sassen argued in 1998 when she pointed to the lack of ‘new legal forms and regimes' to describe the ‘transnationalization of labour'.
What we still narrate in the language of immigration and ethnicity, I would argue, is actually a series of processes having to do with the globalisation of economic activity, of cultural activity, of identity formation. Too often immigration and ethnicity are constituted as otherness. Understanding them as a series of processes whereby global elements are localised, international labour markets are constituted, and cultures from all over the world are de- and re-territorialized, puts them right there at the center along with the internationalization of capital as a fundamental aspect of globalization. (Globalization and its Discontents, 1998: xxxi).
I will use her thesis and try to show how it relates and does not relate to the research that we are currently doing in Cardiff, challenging official discourses and offering some tentative alternatives as a starting point for further discussion. I will argue that we do need new land very different languages if we are ever to actually deal with the local realisations and enactments of global diversity.

Keywords: Migration, Social Cohesion
Presentation Type: Plenary Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Terry Threadgold

Head, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University

Terry Threadgold is Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies and Head, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University. She has published widely in the areas of postructuralist feminist discourse analysis, performance studies, feminist legal studies and on race, identity and nation in multicultural contexts. Her most recent funded research in Wales has been on the representation of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK media and on the embedding of journalists in the Iraq War 2003. She is just beginning a project funded by the Rowntree Foundation on migration and social cohesion in Cardiff. Among her most recent publications are: Sara Buchanan, Bethan Grillo-Simpson and Terry Threadgold, 2003, What's The Story? Results from Research into Media Coverage of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK. London: Article 19, and Rod Brookes, Justin Lewis, Nick Mosdell and Terry Threadgold, 2004, Too Close for Comfort? The Role of Embedded reporting During the Iraq War: Summary Report. Cardiff: Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. She has just completed a book with the same authors for Peter Lang on the 2003 Iraq war.

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