Commonplace diversity and the ‘ethos of mixing’: perceptions of difference in a London neighbourhood

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    The London Borough of Hackney is one of the most diverse places in Britain. It is characterised by a multiplicity of ethnic minorities, different migration histories, religions, educational and economic backgrounds both among long-term residents and newcomers. This article describes attitudes towards diversity in such a ‘super-diverse’ context. It develops the notion of ‘commonplace diversity’, referring to cultural diversity being experienced as a normal part of social life. While many people mix across cultural differences in public and associational space, this is rarely translated into private relations. However, this is not perceived as a problem, as long as people adhere to a tacit ‘ethos of mixing’. This comes to the fore in relation to groups who are blamed to ‘not want to mix’ in public and associational space. The article discusses the fine balance between acceptable and unacceptable social divisions in relation to specific groups who are seen to lead separate lives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)407-422
    Number of pages16
    JournalIdentities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
    Issue number4
    Early online date13 Sept 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power on 13/09/2013 available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • super-diversity
    • neighbourhoods
    • London
    • cultural diversity
    • everyday multiculturalism
    • encounters


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