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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    politics   sociology   education

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.

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