Misrecognised as Muslim: the racialisation of Christians of Middle Eastern heritage in the UK

Hunter, A. and McCallum Guiney, F. (2023) Misrecognised as Muslim: the racialisation of Christians of Middle Eastern heritage in the UK. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, (doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2022.2157803) (Early Online Publication)

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Since the early 2000s in many countries of the Global North, Muslim religious identities have become racialised through the global ‘war on terror’, the ascendancy of right-wing populists, and localised but high-profile disturbances in disadvantaged urban areas. The racialisation of religion, which conflates concerns about the religious Other with race and ethnicity, has led to an environment where those from non-white ethnic backgrounds are mistakenly presumed to be Muslim. Drawing on theorisations of misrecognition by Taylor and Fraser, the present study contributes to the emergent literature on misrecognition as Muslim by exploring a novel case study, Middle Eastern Christians in the UK. Findings are based on qualitative research with Coptic, Iraqi and Assyrian Christian communities in London and central Scotland, involving 53 semi-structured interviews and six focus groups with members of the case study communities. We identify three main types of response by those who are misrecognised, namely education, resignation, and differentiation. Following Taylor, the education and differentiation responses are interpreted as forms of cultural defence, yet such responses also risk producing the ‘problem of reification’ theorised by Fraser, exerting pressure on members to conform to a unitary fixed view of the group.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme (www.heranet.info) which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via PT-DLR, DASTI, ETAG, FCT, FNR, FNRS, FWF, FWO, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MHEST, NWO, NCN, RANN IS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme under Grant 291827.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunter, Dr Alistair
Authors: Hunter, A., and McCallum Guiney, F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-9451
Published Online:03 January 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 2023
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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