Professor Eleonore Kofman, Dr Elena Vacchelli,Dr Simon Harding and Dr Erica Howard, School of Law

Diverse cities: homo- and transphobia in small and medium cities in Europe

 Eleonore Kofman, Elena Vacchelli, Simon Harding and Erica Howard, School of Law

 Gay, lesbian and trans* life style has been linked to the big city. In fact,  migration by LGBT people to big cities has been the subject  of much research. However,  less attention has been given to  LGBT experiences in small and medium cities which is the theme of a new European project: DIVERCITY: Preventing and combating homo- and transphobia in small and medium cities across Europe project involving five European countries (Belgium, Greece, Poland, Spain, UK) and six cities (Charleroi, Girona, Nottingham, Thessaloniki, Wroclaw).

The project seeks to combine research and action and is based on: (i) an analysis of discourses, representations and practices linked to homo- and transphobia, including hate crimes and speech in diverse spaces and institutions in small and medium cities (ii) mapping the best practices and local policies identify successful initiatives and existing gaps, (iii) exchanging of experiences and needs identified with the purpose of implementing best practices in other cities and find solutions to shared needs, (iv) training law enforcement authorities, prosecutors and lawyers in defending victims of homo- and transphobia and (v)  raising awareness about the social risks of homo- and transphobia. Finally, the fieldwork mixes qualitative, and quantitative research from a participatory approach by all target groups involved in the project.

 

 

 

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Professor Kurt Barling’s Publications

The fear of the other is both a psychological and a practical struggle that has exercised the pretensions, passions and politics of man.  Acquiring the means to challenge racist values or a White-supremacist legacy has been the enduring test of dealing steady death blows to the concept of ‘race’.  But unravelling this has been fraught with dangers, needing deft handling to untangle the mythologies and interests that many invoke to preserve ‘race’, even for those with a desire to be rid of racism.   The two have become symbiotic, neither can live without the other but neither will they die alone.

Professor Kurt Barling BA MSc PhD
Professor of  Journalism
Middlesex University London

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https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/the-r-word

http://www.soldiersfromtheempire.co.uk

http://www.mdx.ac.uk/can-journalism-change-the-world

Middlesex Minds  –  Why we must put Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of Higher education Policy.

 

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Published November 2014

Kurt Barling was secretly filming for the Channel Four dispatches programme when he met Mi5 undercover agent Reda Hassaine in Finsbury Park Mosque.  For the following decade he reported extensively on the story of Abu Hamza and his attempts to radicalise young Muslim men.  Both men were unique eye-witnesses to the growth of the threat in London. Few people in the United States would have heard of Abu Hamza before his trial began in the Southern District of New York in April 2014. He was sentenced in early 2015 to life imprisonment with no parole for offences which led to the kidnapping and murder of American citizens, the support of Al Qaeda s international terrorist mission and creating instability in the West that will continue for a generation. Hamza inspired young men to take up arms against their own countries of birth in the name of Islamic jihad. He encouraged ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things which caused harm and terror. This is an original story of how a simple man became an international menace told by two journalists who tried to warn the world before it was too late.

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Published April 2016

A highly topical book!  How is an entire people seduced into the clutches of extremism and what do ordinary citizens really think about it? Again and again, Englishwoman Ernestine Amy Buller travelled to Germany and led, in particular between 1934 and 1938, intensive discussions with people of different social classes and political persuasions.  She wanted to understand why so many people in so cultured a country could lapse into accepting Nazi ideology.  She talked with officers, students, housewives, officials, pastors, aristocratic landowners and others, and eventually in 1943 she published a record of those intimate conversations in wartime England under the title “Darkness over Germany”. The voices of these witnesses are far more nuanced than we might assume.  The book takes us on a journey into the past and forces us perhaps to consider how we might have behaved in the circumstances of the time.

Dr. Alexandra Beauregard

Publications and Papers 

Khokher, S. Y., & Beauregard, T. A. (2014). Work-family attitudes and behaviours among newly immigrant Pakistani expatriates: The role of organizational family-friendly policies. Community, Work & Family17(2), 142-162.

https://www.academia.edu/12377868/Work-family_attitudes_and_behaviours_among_newly_immigrant_Pakistani_expatriates_The_role_of_organizational_family-friendly_policies

 

Beauregard, T. A. (2012). Perfectionism, self-efficacy and OCB: The moderating role of gender. Personnel Review41(5), 590-608.

https://www.academia.edu/1792023/Perfectionism_self-efficacy_and_OCB_The_moderating_role_of_gender

Özbilgin, M. F., Beauregard, T. A., Bell, M. P., & Tatli, A. (2011). Work-life, diversity and intersectionality: A critical review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews13(2), 177-198.

https://www.academia.edu/351291/Work-life_diversity_and_intersectionality_A_critical_review_and_research_agenda

Bell, M. P., Özbilgin, M. F., Beauregard, T. A., & Surgevil, O. (2011). Diversity, voice and silence in 21st century organizations: Strategies for inclusion of sexual minorities. Human Resource Management50(1), 131-146.

https://www.academia.edu/423515/Voice_silence_and_diversity_in_21st_century_organizations_Strategies_for_inclusion_of_gay_lesbian_bisexual_and_transgender_employees

Beauregard, T. A., Özbilgin, M. F., & Bell, M. P. (2009). Revisiting the social construction of family in the context of work.Journal of Managerial Psychology24(1), 46-65.

https://www.academia.edu/190881/Revisiting_the_social_construction_of_family_in_the_context_of_work

Professor Stephen Syrett and Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles

Diasporas, identity and enterprise: Conceptualising politicised ethnic entrepreneurship

This paper extends the scope of existing theoretical understanding of ethnic and transnational entrepreneurship to identify the phenomenon of politicised ethnic entrepreneurship. It argues that within certain predominantly stateless diasporic groups, entrepreneurial activity is embedded within the development of a politicised ethnic identity and economy which has remained largely unexamined. For diaspora groups that lack any ‘home’ nation state, such as the Kurds, Tamils, Palestinians and Sikhs, the development of entrepreneurial ventures is informed by, and intimately related to, the evolution of a highly ethnically politicised diasporic identity, which contributes to the development of a wider transnational ethnic economy organised around a diasporic consciousness, identity and cross-national solidarity. Through theoretical examination of the interplay between transnational enterprise, diasporas and identity, the paper identifies the defining characteristics of politicised ethnic entrepreneurship and sets out a conceptual model for understanding its emergence and development. This theoretical model provides a platform for empirical study and has implications for policy development.

Dr Leandro Sepulveda and Professor Stephen Syrett

Re-thinking economic development in an age of diversity

The trend towards cities having increasingly diverse population is now a well-established phenomenon in the global North and South. Within this context, the presence of a culturally and ethnically diverse population is frequently considered as one of the defining features of contemporary world cities like London, New York, Paris and Toronto and an asset that can be economically exploited. Yet what has been significant over the last thirty years has been the growing level of population mobility and this has seen not just an increase in the scale of population flows, but also changes in the origins, destinations, and composition. The result is greater diversity where past populations had been more homogenous.

The presence of increasingly diverse population has a number of impacts upon the processes of economic development. Diverse populations bring with them a range of potential benefits as well as costs. Yet political, and indeed academic, debate often seeks to polarise these, to promote rather simplistic readings of diversity as either inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The reality is more complex and fascinating.

This paper provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject of population diversity and economic development in urban economies. It draws together analysis and debates from across different academic fields such as migration, labour market, small business and enterprise, creativity and innovation, diaspora relations and business networks and diverse built environments, and illustrates these with evidence from London. In particular it reflects upon the experience of ‘old’ and ‘new’ migrant entrepreneurs and assumes that the more ‘cosmopolitan outlook’ acquired by global cities in recent years is reflected not only in an ever-broadening range of ‘exotic’ goods and services available on the high street of global cities but also through migrant entrepreneurs themselves introducing their products, symbols and traditions by establishing business ventures and in so doing transforming the economic geography of cities and the profile of local economies.

Dr Roger Kline

The NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard: An evidence based response to deep seated NHS workforce race discrimination

The NHS is the largest UK employer of black and minority ethnic (BME) people. 20% of NHS staff are from BME backgrounds. BME staff are treated less favourably in recruitment, promotion, treatment, discipline and career progression. (Kline 2013, Kline 2014, West and Dawson 2015).

The Macpherson Inquiry prompted the 2004 NHS Race Equality Action Plan which. though characterised  by ministerial support and initial success, failed in its aim to change leadership demographics.

New research (e.g. West and Dawson 2009, 2011, 2012) demonstrates good correlations between the treatment of staff, and patient experience and outcomes, and in particular, the links between patient experience and the treatment of BME staff.  This provides a powerful business case for tackling discrimination to improve patient care, supplemented by evidence that diversity in leadership benefits innovation and the likelihood that NHS organisations whose leadership resembles that of the communities being served may be more sensitive to their health needs.

Priest et al (2015) and West and Dawson (2015) suggest that the previous reliance on policies, procedures, training and exhortation to tackle workforce discrimination were, in isolation, the least successful strategies to tackle workforce discrimination. Their work, and the new business case, led to the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES), which combines a mandatory element with measurable benchmarked outcomes and the sharing of best practice. The nine WRES metrics draw on workforce and staff survey data and board composition data.

Maria Adamson and Elisabeth Kelan

Questioning Contemporary Role Models: Celebrity Business Women the Corporate Feminist?

Recent years have seen the rise of attention to the exploration of female role models and their ability to aid a much needed increase in the number of women in work and managerial positions. While the significance of female role models for the increase of the number of women in leadership positions is a regularly rehearsed argument, little is known about the kind of behaviour, traits and characteristics role models actually ‘model’. Prior research suggests that women are indeed inspired by outstanding women (Lockwood 2006: p 290). However, Sealy and Singh (2010) highlight that female role models may be rejected by women depending on the kind of femininity they model, e.g. childless businesswomen tend to be discarded by women as role models. Eriksson-Zetterquist (2008) suggest that women build positive ‘mental constructs’ that contain  combined traits of different people therefore there is a need for a variety of models. Yet, Hopfl (2010: 403) has argued that the range of contemporary female role models is limited as they mainly model masculine behaviour and trajectory, and that the figure of a ‘formidable woman’ is disappearing. Interestingly though, many contemporary business celebrities recently appear to advocate seemingly feminist virtues and female advancement. Using discourse analysis methodology, this paper looks at autobiographies of popular female business leaders who have ‘celebrity’ status and who may be perceived by women as potential role models by women to find out the type of attitudes, behaviours, characteristics and values they construct as desirable in business. We explore these narratives through the lens of postfeminist sensibility (Gill, 2007; McRobbie, 2006) and raise questions of how and to what extent such forms of executive feminism can challenge systematic gender inequalities.

Emma Dick

Empowering women in fashion and textiles globally: enabling strategies for diversity in the global fashion and textiles industry

This paper examines women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship and creative industries across borders and modes of enabling strategies for diversity throughout the business of fashion and textiles. The presentation focuses on training programmes developed by SPINNA Circle in Central Asia as a case study, creating market linkages and developing networks for women entrepreneurs in textiles through skills exchange in creative pattern cutting. The training was funded by USAID-REC, supported by Middlesex University and delivered by Kiran Gobin and Emma Dick, both from the

Fashion Directorate in the School of Art & Design.

The paper examines how the exchange of creative skills builds the foundation for new peer supportive communities which transcend national and regional borders and connect women artisans and entrepreneurs globally. Through building and developing occupational networks of women artisans and entrepreneurs across Central Asia and connecting them to members and businesses worldwide, SPINNA Circle works to empower women in fashion and textiles globally, thus enabling fulfillment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

We discuss how new cross-border linkages and strategies for trans-cultural diversity are being enabled and developed through skills sharing and collaboration, and propose that by connecting skilled female artisans and entrepreneurs to each other, this emerging networked space has the power to bring diverse communities and individuals together. In this way, geopolitical borders might be re-imagined through the power of the personal and professional connection.

New dynamic flows of objects and ideas are being created within the Central Asian region. Existing historic structures, borders and conventional value chains in the global fashion and textiles industries are being examined, reevaluated and re-articulated, and new trade connections, aesthetic forms and modes of doing business being established. The multi-dimensional space in between becomes a dynamic and productive zone with the potential to significantly enhance the livelihoods of women and communities living within the region of the Central Asian borderlands and to expand their connections to global peers in design, craft and entrepreneur communities worldwide.

Associate Professor Anne Daguerre

Accommodation of Muslim minorities in higher education in Britain and France

The fractious relationship between state and religion is once again at the core of identity politics in Europe. In Western Europe, there has been renewed cultural and political anxiety regarding the perceived threat of Islam to a distinctively European secular consensus (Cesari 2013). This secular consensus presents the following characteristics: 1- an individualised view of religion, where spiritual beliefs are a matter of individual thought and conscience; 2- the socio-political expectation that religion should be kept separate from law and politics; and 3- the predominance of cultural and communal symbols linked to the traditional majority religion, i.e., the Christian faith (McCrea 2013). As pointed out by Modood (2015), because Muslims demands can exceed Christian requirements in terms of claims for public recognition and respect, this can lead to tensions with some groups weary of what they perceive as ‘religionising’ the public sphere. In higher education, these tensions can be especially acute because universities have a traditional secular culture in which criticizing the religious is not considered to be offensive, especially in France. The paper aims to address two questions. First, does the construction of a ‘Muslim issue’ in higher education represent a sub-category of the broader politicization of Islam and associated public anxieties and fears – including the much charged Islamophobia and counter Islamophobia claims? Second, to what extent do these political debates reflect alleged tensions between secular and religious ‘camps’ within higher education? Or are such controversies disconnected from the mundane reality of university management practices, with Islam being one relatively small element of competing demands for greater recognition and accommodation from diverse parts of the student body? The proposed paper will explore recent public debates concerning Muslim students in higher education in Britain and France.

Dr Doirean Wilson

Respecting Spiritual Identity at Work: A 21st Century Cultural Viewpoint

Globalisation today is the omen of cheaper air fares, hence the growth in the movements of different people across the world in pursuit of a better life. Workforces are now rich with those of multiple spiritual and cultural identities, topics that still remain an enigma. Although research evidence suggests that spirituality is no longer taboo in academe, strong cultural norms consider issues of spirituality to be a private matter both in and outside of the workplace. Hitherto, what are the implications of multiple spiritual and cultural identities for those working in multicultural-teams in businesses operating in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) climates? This paper aims to answer this question, by exploring the concept of spiritual identity vis-à-vis culture. It draws on a study of cultural meanings of respect for multidisciplinary final-year undergraduate business students as future business cadre, enrolled at a London-based university with learners who reflect world nationalities. These students were required to work in culturally-diverse teams of 4-6 individuals of spiritual difference to identify real business solutions. The findings focused on group dynamics and processes, collated via focus group discussions of emerging shared-stories of respect and disrespect. Verbal and non-verbal data were analysed from audio-visual recordings of the focus-group conversations. The analysis revealed a need for leaders today to understand and respect the spiritual identities of their culturally diverse workers. And that respect is often taken for granted and can be perceived as disrespect in another culture, hence little understanding of its true meaning for those of difference. When disrespect occurred it was interpreted as intentional leading to conflict. This process unearthed cultural meanings of respect that addressed misinterpretations, fostering team-harmony, improving learning outcomes and performance. This paper considers the implications of promoting awareness of cultural respect for enhancing business sustainability, adding to diversity debates today.

 

The Centre for Ideas, Cfi, is a forward-looking ‘virtual research institute’ at Middlesex University London.