Being and Belonging in Scotland: Exploring the Intersection of Ethnicity, Gender and National Identity among Scottish Pakistani Groups

Akwugo Emejulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Through an analysis of the views and attitudes of a small sample of the largest
minority ethnic group in Scotland, I seek to examine two key issues in relation
to recent research on ethnicity, national identity and belonging in Scottish
social and political studies (McCrone and Kiely 2000; Bond and Rosie 2002;
McCrone 2002; Bond 2006; Miller and Hussain 2006; McCrone and
Bechhofer 2010). Firstly, I analyse how Scottish Pakistani groups name and
claim their hyphenated identities as a practice of asserting their belonging in
Scotland – in spite of systematic institutionalised racism and exclusion. In
particular, I demonstrate how Scottish Pakistani groups appear to occupy the
identity of ‘Scottish’ on fairly unproblematic terms. That Scottish Pakistani
groups are able to claim a hyphenated identity that incorporates Scottishness seems to signal an important process taking place within a Scottish nationalist
discourse whereby nationalist political elites have been able to advance an
inclusive identity of Scottishness and this has created space for some minority
ethnic groups to name and claim this identity and thus enhance their sense of
belonging in this country. Secondly, I pivot from discussions about ethnicity
and national identity to consider the gendered implications of belonging in
Scotland. By analysing the gendered inequalities of autonomy embedded in
some Scottish Pakistanis’ hyphenated identities, I argue that whilst a particular
form of inclusive Scottish national identity creates spaces for minority ethnic
groups to adopt Scottishness as part of their identities, patriarchical gender
relations are left unchallenged thus limiting the autonomy of Scottish Pakistani
women to create different types of identities that might subvert the
essentialised gender inequalities they encounter. To identify and challenge
hierarchical power relations embedded in identity, I argue that an intersectional
approach which analyses the relationships between ethnicity, national identity
and gender (alongside other identities such as race, class, disability and
sexuality) must be enacted in order to obtain a more complete picture of what
being, belonging and inclusion might mean for different groups in Scotland and
beyond (Crenshaw 1991; Hill Collins 2000; Hancock 2007; Bassel and
Emejulu 2010; Yuval-Davis 2012; Cho, Crenshaw and McCall 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-64
JournalScottish Affairs
Volume84
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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