Exploring ‘mixed-race’ identities in Scotland through a familial lens

Pang, Mengxi (2018) Exploring ‘mixed-race’ identities in Scotland through a familial lens. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis takes ‘mixed-race’ individuals and parents of ‘mixed-race’ children in Scotland
as its subject, exploring the meanings and significance of ‘mixed-race’ and the process by
which ‘mixed-race’ identities are constructed. Contributing to the burgeoning ‘mixed-race’
scholarship in Britain, and more broadly to the intersection of the sociology of ‘race’ and
the sociology of family relationships literature, this thesis presents a qualitative analysis of
‘mixed-race’ identities by exploring how mixed individuals view themselves through
interactions with others. Informed by a theoretical approach combining interactionist and
intersectional perspectives, this thesis stresses the role of everyday interactions with family
members in shaping one’s views of the self, but it also pays attention to the ways in which
meanings associated with ‘mixed-race’ are conditioned by and produced in the wider social
context.
Based upon thirty-one in-depth interviews with ‘mixed-race’ individuals and parents of
mixed children conducted over a 24-month period, this thesis qualitatively examines
interviewees’ experiences and interpretations of ‘mixed-race’ by locating them within the
wider socio-cultural context. Focusing on personal and family experiences of being ´mixed
race’ or being associated with mixedness, this thesis pays particular attention to family
dynamics, seeking to explore the ways in which family practices influence children’s
attitudes towards mixed heritages. In so doing, empirical data is analysed and presented in
a ‘thick description’ fashion. Illustrative cases are employed to draw out and exemplify the
complex processes of negotiating and constructing meanings of ‘mixed-race’. Contending
that the relative centrality of mixedness varies between individuals, the analysis shows that
‘mixed-race’ identities are embedded in various forms of social relations and conditioned
by structural constraints. Due to the uneven access to symbolic and material resources,
mixed individuals have different capacities to mobilise collective meanings ascribed to
ethnicities in order to negotiate racialised differences. Within this process, ‘mixed-race’
families play a pertinent role in providing their children with access to knowledge about
their mixed heritage. Furthermore, parents have an impact on children’s early attitudes
towards their ethnic heritages by either reinterpreting or reproducing racial ideologies.
Once again, parents’ priorities, strategies and specific plans to communicate the idea of
‘mixed-race’ are structured by their racialised, classed and gendered positions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This thesis is in memory of Dr Roona Simpson (1964-2017), who was my second supervisor between 2013 and 2015.
Keywords: 'race' and ethnicity, family and personal relationships, identities, the sociology of 'mixed-race', social inequalities.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Virdee, Professor Satnam and Dawson, Dr. Matt
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Ms Mengxi Pang
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-8741
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 16:37
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2018 15:00
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8741

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