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Sense of Belonging 2014 : Academic Workshop: Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain


When Nov 20, 2014 - Nov 21, 2014
Where Coventry University
Submission Deadline Apr 16, 2014
Notification Due May 7, 2014
Final Version Due Aug 6, 2014
Categories    sociology   education   politics

Call For Papers

The Dialogue Society, Birmingham Branch and Coventry University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies invites abstracts from scholars and relevant practitioners who wish to share and explore ideas and research findings concerning the sense of belonging in contemporary Britain’s diverse society. The Dialogue Society sees a broad and seemingly reasonable consensus that sense of belonging is vital for a thriving and peaceful society, and accordingly wishes to contribute to illuminating its character and effects and exploring how it can be cultivated.

‘Sense of belonging’ is a phrase often heard in discussions of the cohesion of our society and, particularly, instances of its breakdown. Following the urban disturbances of summer 2011 commentators across the spectrum speculated about how rioters could have come to feel so little sense of belonging to their local area that they could loot and torch their local shops and incite such fear in their communities. The Reading the Riots research undertaken by LSE and the Guardian cited a sense of alienation as a widely shared characteristic of the rioters, with barely half feeling ‘part of British society.’ The same questions about sense of belonging, or the lack of it, have been asked in the wake of terrorist attacks in which young British people brought up in Britain have murdered fellow citizens. And the need for belonging is frequently cited as a key driver of gang membership.

The crime and social problems associated in public discourse with the lack of a sense of belonging are not the reserve of ethnic/cultural minorities. In this workshop, we invite contributors to shed light on the nature, causes and effects of sense of belonging and of its absence both in minority communities and majority communities. We seek to examine the impact of a lack of sense of belonging outside dramatic cases of crime and anti-social behavior as well as in those cases. We have a particular interest in contributions exploring how the absence of a sense of belonging might be addressed.

Contributions will be discussed among a diverse group of academics, professionals and opinion formers at a two-day workshop, 20th - 21st November 2014, to be held at Coventry University. As an outcome we aim to produce a publication from the presented papers and relevant debates generated during the Q&As.
Authors are invited to send abstracts (maximum 400 words) of their proposed papers addressing questions such as the following:

Do we need more clarity about British values in order to promote a sense of belonging in British society? If so, who identifies those values, and how?
Has ‘state multiculturalism’ encouraged or undermined a sense of belonging?
Where in British society are we seeing a lack of sense of belonging?
Is the cultivation of a sense of belonging best served by paying more (affirmative) attention to cultural difference, or less?
Does a strong sense of belonging to a particular cultural group tend to enhance or undermine people’s relationships with the wider community?
How do we achieve a healthy balance between celebrating diverse identities and cultivating a sense of common belonging to Britain? How can families and communities keep their distinctive heritage alive while cultivating a sense of belonging where they are?
What factors - social, political, economic and/or cultural - encourage a sense of belonging in British society?
What are the most significant barriers to feeling a sense of belonging in Britain?
How far does immigration status (including citizenship) affect people’s sense of belonging?
What is the role of sense of belonging, and/or the lack of it, in:
Urban disturbances
‘Home-grown’ terrorism
in the UK?
How does a lack of sense of belonging impact people’s lives, aside from the cases of those involved in crime or antisocial behaviour?
How do traditional British symbols such as the Union Jack function in British society (to encourage and express belonging and/or to exclude from belonging)?
‘United’ Kingdom? In an age of devolution, and as Scotland debates an independent future, is it to ‘Britain’ that British citizens feel they belong?
How far does Britain’s foreign policy affect the sense of belonging of British citizens with roots abroad?
What role can/should the British education system play in instilling a sense of belonging?
What effect, if any, do faith schools have on pupils’ sense of belonging to the wider community?
What is the role of the third sector in encouraging a sense of belonging among diverse communities?
The controversy of citizenship tests: what must a person know in order to belong in Britain?
How far is the lack of a sense of belonging a (neglected) problem within majority communities? How can the problem be addressed?
What can be done, by parents, schools, or voluntary organisations, to help young people negotiating complex identities to grow up with a secure sense of belonging?
How far does faith shape where, and to whom, British citizens feel they belong?
Does nationalism necessarily involve placing limits on who can belong?
Editorial Board

Prof Eddie Halpin, Leeds Metropolitan University
Prof Alan Hunter, Coventry University
Dr Karim Murji, The Open University
Prof Alpaslan Ozerdem, Coventry University
Dr Richard Race, University of Roehampton
Prof Simon Robinson Leeds Metropolitan University
Workshop Co-ordinator

The workshop co-ordinator is Mustafa Demir. Any questions should be addressed to him by email:

Submission Procedure

Abstracts and CVs should be submitted, in English only, as MS Word documents attached to an email to Mustafa Demir,, no later than 17:00 UK time, 16th April 2014.

Authors must indicate at this stage if audio-visual equipment may be required in the presentation of their paper and must give any relevant technical specifications.

The first page of the manuscript should contain:

The title
The name(s) and institutional affiliation(s) of the author(s)
The address, telephone, and fax numbers (as well as the e-mail address) of the corresponding author
An abstract of 250 words
A biography of 250 words
6 keywords
Manuscripts should be approximately 4,000 to 8,000 words, excluding bibliography. Longer manuscripts will be considered only in exceptional circumstances.

Articles will be peer reviewed by members of the Editorial Board.

Schedule for Submissions

Schedule for Submissions

Abstracts (400 words maximum) and CVs (maximum of 2 pages, including any personal statement and/or listing of publications or professional experience) to be received by 17:00 UK time, 16th of April 2014.
Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by 7th May 2014.
Papers to be received by 6th August 2014.
Papers reviewed by the Editorial Board and classed as: Accepted – No Recommendations; Accepted – See Recommendations; Conditional Acceptance – See Recommendations; Not Accepted.
The outcome of the review (including any recommendations for revisions or improvements) communicated to authors by 10th September 2014.
Final papers to be received by 15th October 2014.

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