**an update on where I am with my thesis project, this is an outline to try and help me refine and focus my project**
Matter Out of Place - Outline
What did it mean to be Black British in the late 70’s to early 80’s compared to present day? Did the Brixton riots (1981) impact the integration of Afro-Caribbean’s into British culture and society? Was it a key part of the birth of ‘Multiculturalism’ in Britain? Does ‘Multiculturalism’ lead to a loss of identity?
As certain cultural groups (defined by race, religion or class) become ingrained into a society, (In this case the change from being ‘Black in Britain’ to being ‘Black British’) they acquire a value in that system. Different races will be more positively valued in a system than other races and anything that is ascribed to undervalued race normally prescribed to valued races causes great tensions in a society.
Brixton Riots, Enoch Powell, The National Front, The BNP, Rivers of Blood, A wind of change, ‘Skinhead Moonstomping ‘, ‘Paki-Bashing’ are all results of the great tensions. I see this problem as cyclical. New waves of different cultures move to the UK they often are often greeted with hostilities even from races who received the same hostility when they immigrated.
My aim is to understand the necessity of classification of race and class, its positive and negative effects. I will use my background (Afro-Caribbean) as a focus for my research. Looking at how different generations affected, and have been affected by their environment specifically looking at Brixton, in the early 80’s compared to now.
Another more personal aim of the project is to understand what is meant by multiculturalism and how that has changed in my life time. I am interested in the effects of breaking stereotypes and the associated feelings of isolation, liberation and questions of identity.
I will engage with a mixed type of evidence to form my research. Paul Gilroy and Stuart hall will provide a theoretical back bone in the form of published literature. Films such as Karl Howman’s ‘Babylon’ offer an immersive and more perhaps more accessible depiction of everyday life. While Don Letts will ‘provide the soundtrack’.
This is a personal piece of work, it is an opportunity for me to explore my relationship with race and architecture, key historical events that have changed my life and what it means to be Black British.
The essay will be broken up into a series of shorter essays
Classification Race, Class & Agency. The theory behind classifications
Black BritainBrief History of the immigration from the ‘West Indies’
Guns of Brixton
Analysis of everyday life in Brixton for Black Britons in the build up to the riots. Looking at unemployment, crime, subcultures and the films music that define the times.
I Predict a RiotAnalysis of footage and a set of photos taken during the riots.
The Rise Of Multiculturalism in the UKThe definition of multiculturalism, If and how the Brixton riots accelerated multiculturalism in London and the UK.
Black Britain todayA comparison of everyday life in Brixton for Black Britons in present day. Looking at unemployment, crime, subcultures and the films music that define the times.
IdentityHave these specific events lead to a change into the identity of Black Britons today, and what are the identity issues that middle-class black people struggle with.
Paul Gilroy – Aint no Black in the Union Jack, 'Two Tone Britain, Black Youth,White Youth and the cultural politics of anti-racist sensibility'
Stuart Hall – The Floating Signifier (Lecture), Formations of Modernity, Essays in Cultural studies 1970’s -80’s
Lesly lokko – White Papers, Black Marks
Peter Marcuse - Right to the city, The layered city