Victoria Redclift

Dr Victoria Redclift


Senior Lecturer
+44 (0)1483 686976
28 AD 03

Biography

Biography

Victoria Redclift's research interests are in the sociology of migration and citizenship with particular focus on 'race', ethnicity andinequality. After an MSc in Social Policy and Development Studies from LSE (for which she was awarded the Richard Titmuss prize for outstanding performance), she won the LSEs first four year Bonnart-Bruanthal PhD scholarship in the Department of Sociology. Her work pays particular attention to spatial formations of political exclusion, histories of displacement and the formation of diaspora, and the negotiation of local and global 'political space'. She worked at the LSE and the University of Manchester before joining Surrey in 2013.

Research interests

Her research interests lie primarily in the following areas:

- Citizenship and political identity

- Intersections of 'race', class and gender in the reproduction of political exclusion

- Diaspora and transnationalism

- 'Intra-minority' identity and 'hidden minorities'

Through a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SG121376 - April 2013 to April 2015), Victoria has spent the past two years conducting research into the historical legacy of conflict in the formation of identities and relations among South Asian Muslims in the UK and the US. Tracing the stories of North Indian 'Bihari' Muslims who fled East Bengal as a result of the Liberation War in 1971, establishing themselves in various cities across the UK and North America, the research considered how 'intra-minority' relations interrogate Muslim identities in different diasporic contexts.Findings revealed that on arrival in the UK and the US the vast majority of North Indian 'Urdu-speakers' assimilated into the Pakistani diaspora, but the salience of 'Bihari' identities were significantly informed by the political contexts and demographic characteristics of the urban neighbourhoods in which they settled (Redclift, 2013c). Their stories uncovered 'latent' identities and multiple affiliations that help us to unpick the dyadic relations of 'home' and 'away' at the heart of essentialist conceptualisations of the diaspora concept (Redclift, forthcoming). They highlight not only the contingent nature of history and memory but the impact of both on the production of identity and the formation of community. The project expands growing interest in 'hidden minorities', as well as in relations between and within minorities, bringing historicity and spatiality to bear on our understanding of South Asian communities in the West.

Victoria was recently awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant for a new project on 'Transnational Practices in Local Settings: Experiences of citizenship among Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London and Birmingham'(ES/N000986/1 - April 2016 - October 2018). This will complement her Phillip Leverhulme Prize project 'From Brick Lane to Little Bangladesh:Transnational Political Space in London and Los Angeles' (PLP-2014-221 -October 2015 to October 2018). The research takes the form of a trifocal study into experiences of citizenship among Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London, Birmingham and Los Angeles, developing the concept of 'transnational political space' in order to better understand the impact of receiving society conditions on transnational identities and relations.

The concept of 'transnational political space' interrogates the dichotomy between international and domestic spaces of political engagement to consider the degree to which the formulation of identities and relations in countries of settlement contributes to the creation of new forms of political subjectivity in countries of origin, and vice versa. Revivalist Islam is thought to be growing among Bangladeshi communities in both the US and the UK and the project considers how different histories of urban settlement, different population profiles and different local conditions/constraints affect the ethnic and religious identities chosen and political identities possible in this new setting. The international comparative analysis helps capture the dynamic interactions of history and space in the shaping of political identity, and develops my work on the extent to which gender, generation, class and space inform or challenge ethnic, national and religious solidarities (Redclift, 2013a; 2013b; 2015).

Victoria is on the International Editorial Boards for 'Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power' and 'Ethnic and Racial Studies'.

She was recently appointed as a Trustee of the Bonnart Braunthal Trust into the study of racial, religious and cultural intolerance. She is also on the Runnymede Trust Academic Forum.

Teaching

Cultures of 'race' and racism

Contemporary Societies

Survey Research

Crime, ethnicity and racism

Affiliations

British Sociological Association (BSA)

European Sociological Association (ESA)

Association of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN)

British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS)

My publications

Publications

Redclift VM (2016) The de-mobilization of diaspora: History, memory and 'latent identity', Global Networks: a Journal of Transnational Affairs
The ?semantic domain? (Tololyan, 1996) that the term diaspora inhabits has received much attention in recent years, not all of which has been kind to the concept. The most frequently cited conceptualizations have been framed by a search for definitional accuracy (Butler, 2001; Cohen, 1997; Safran, 1991; Shuval, 2000) and criticism has focussed on the concomitant tendency to consider the concept as a form of social categorization or descriptive tool. This, it has been argued, has resulted not only in the suggestion that ?real? diaspora exist alongside ?fakes? but also in the creation of ?entities? that emphasize coherence and objectivist measurement (Alexander, 2010). As Brubaker (2005: 2) noted, this strand of the diaspora literature has been ?firmly rooted in a conceptual ?homeland??. Whether this was real or imagined the homeland has been depicted as an authoritative source of value, identity and loyalty, and diaspora have been defined descriptively with reference to that origin. This version of diaspora, defined by a teleology of return, has been described as ?the old, the imperialising, the hegemonizing, form of ?ethnicity?? (Hall, 1990: 8).
Redclift VM (2014) New racisms, new racial subjects? The neoliberal moment and the racial landscape of contemporary Britain, Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (04) pp. 577-588 Taylor & Francis
The articles in this volume reflect upon a very specific moment in the social architecture of British society: a moment which brings financial meltdown together with some sizeable shifts in the racial and ethnic landscape of the UK. As a ?neoliberal revolution? (Hall 2011) heralds the end of public services and the end of the welfare state, it proclaims ?the end of race? as well. But cultural retrenchment and coded xenophobia have also been sweeping the political terrain, accompanied by ?new racisms? and ?new racial subjects? which only close contextual analysis can unpick. Against those who suggest we live in a post-racial time, the research presented offers friction. By focusing on particular locations in Britain at a particular moment, the articles explore local stories of ?race? and racism across changing socio-political ground.
In depth field research with a stateless population in Bangladesh has revealed that, despite liberal theory's reductive vision, the limits of political community are not set in stone. The Urdu-speaking population in Bangladesh exemplify some of the key problems facing uprooted populations and their experience provides insights into the long term unintended consequences of major historical events. Set in a site of camp and non-camp based displacement it illustrates the nuances of political identity and lived spaces of statelessness that Western political theory has too long hidden from view. Using Bangladesh as a case study, Statelessness and Citizenship: Camps and the Creation of Political Space argues that the crude binary oppositions of statelessness and citizenship are no longer relevant; access to and understandings of citizenship are not just jurally but socially, spatially and temporally produced.
Unpicking Agamben's distinction between 'political beings' and 'bare life', the book considers experiences of citizenship through the camp as a social form. The camps of Bangladesh do not function as bounded physical or conceptual spaces in which denationalized groups are altogether divorced from the polity. Instead, citizenship is claimed at the level of everyday life, as the moments in which formal status is transgressed. Moreover, once in possession of 'formal status' internal borders within the nation-state render 'rights-bearing citizens' effectively 'stateless', and the experience of 'citizens' is very often equally uneven. While 'statelessness' may function as a cold instrument of exclusion, certainly, it is neither fixed nor static; just as citizenship is neither as stable nor benign as the dichotomy would suggest. Using these insights, the book develops the concept of 'political space' - an analysis of the way history and space inform the identities and political subjectivity available to people. In doing so, it provides an analytic approach of relevance to wider problems of displacement, citizenship and ethnic relations.
Redclift VM (2015) Displacement, integration and identity in the postcolonial world, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power Taylor and Francis
Defining the relationship between displaced populations and the nation state is a fraught historical process. The Partition of India in 1947 provides a compelling example, yet markedly little attention has been paid to the refugee communities produced. Using the case of the displaced ?Urdu-speaking minority? in Bangladesh, this article considers what contemporary discourses of identity and integration reveal about the nature and boundaries of the nation state. It reveals that the language of ?integration? is embedded in colonial narratives of ?population? versus ?people-nation? which structure exclusion not only through language and ethnicity, but poverty and social space. It also shows how colonial and postcolonial registers transect and overlap as colonial constructions of ?modernity? and ?progress? fold into religious discourses of ?pollution? and ?purity?. The voices of minorities navigating claims to belonging through these discourses shed light on a ?nation-in-formation?: the shifting landscape of national belonging and the complicated accommodations required.
Redclift VM (2011) Subjectivity and citizenship: Intersections of space, place and identity among the Urdu-speaking minority in Bangladesh, Journal of International Migration and Integration 12 (1) pp. 25-42 Springer Netherlands
The paper examines understandings of citizenship and ethnic identification
among the ?Urdu-speaking linguistic minority? in Bangladesh, addressing three
key areas of debate. Firstly, it explores the relationship between the material
institution of citizenship and conditions of (physical) integration/segregation.
Secondly, it attempts to unpick the intimate connection between that material
institution and the ethnic and national identities of individuals. Finally, it investigates
a dissonance discovered between the bureaucratic state recognition of citizenship
and imaginations of that status among interviewees, the ?identities of citizenship?
occupied at the local level. The paper demonstrates the significance of subject
positionality, economies of power and the ?dialogic? nature of ethnic identity
formation, and discusses the complex emotional ordering of belonging they
collectively construct.
Redclift VM (2010) Conceiving collectivity: The Urdu-speaking Bihari minority and the absence of home, In: DePretto L, Macri G, Wong C (eds.), Diasporas: Revisiting and Discovering Inter-disciplinary Press
What makes a Diaspora Diasporic? Is it a shared sense of culture, of experience, of home?
Ongoing research in Bangladesh into the ?Urdu-speaking Bihari? minority explores the role of space and settlement in the formation of Diasporic identity. Research finds a community that conceive of themselves as a unit of collective membership, but one with very little to unite around. A community divided along cultural, political, linguistic, generational and socio-economic lines.
Of the estimated 1.3 million Urdu-speaking Muslims that migrated to Pakistan following the country?s creation in 1947 more than one million migrated to the region of East Bengal in present day Bangladesh.1 Only 300,000 are thought to remain, 160,000 of whom have been living in temporary ?camps? set up by the ICRC since the War of Liberation in 1971. The remaining 140,000 live outside the camps, integrated, to varying degrees, within majority Bengali society.
As a linguistic community they do not speak a common language. As a cultural community they practice ?culture? in different ways. As a social community the divisions of class, money, opportunity and status are deeply felt. As a political community they are without a common political identity or equal access to political participation. As a Diaspora they do not share a sense of home.
Through the experience of space, settlement and segregation this paper analyses the role of culture, politics, language, generation and class in dividing and uniting Diasporic groups, and questions the significance of a sense of ?home? in understandings of the term.
Redclift VM (2016) Re-bordering Camp and City: ?Race?, space and citizenship in Dhaka, In: Hall S, Burdett R (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Urban Sociology 31 Sage
Alexander CE, Redclift VM, Hussain A (2013) The New Muslims, Runnymede Perspectives Runnymede Trust
Our aim in this collection is to challenge the
ways in which ?Muslims? as a social category
are imagined in popular, policy and even some
academic circles. The title ?New Muslims?
indexes both this conceptual shift and the
changing contours of ?the Muslim community?
in 21st-century Britain. It argues for renewed
assessments of Muslims in Britain today ? beyond the discourses of securitization, segregation or sharia law ? to recognize the multidimensionality of Muslim lives and their place within a broader struggle for equality, citizenship and social justice.

This collection emerged from a workshop on ?The New
Muslims? and a panel on ?The Muslim Question? held at
University of Manchester in 2013. The event was funded
as part of the ESRC project ?Revisiting the Asian Gang:
Continuity, Change and Transformation? (Award No.
ES/1032274/1). We are grateful to the ESRC and the
Department of Sociology at Manchester for supporting both the event and this publication.

Redclift VM, James M, Kim H (2015) New Racial Landscapes: Contemporary Britain and the Neoliberal Conjuncture, Routledge
The chapters in this volume reflect upon a very specific moment in the social architecture of British society: a moment that brings financial meltdown together with some sizeable shifts in the racial and ethnic landscape of the UK. As a ?neo-liberal revolution? heralds the end of public services and the end of the welfare state, it proclaims ?the end of race? as well. But cultural retrenchment and coded xenophobia have also been sweeping the political terrain, accompanied by ?new racisms? and ?new racial subjects? that only close contextual analysis can unpick. Against those who suggest that we live in a post-racial time, the research presented offers friction. By focusing on particular locations in Britain at a particular moment, the volume explores local stories of ?race? and racism across changing sociopolitical ground. This book is essential reading for scholars and students of race, racism, diaspora, multiculture, post-colonilaism, transnationalism and post-race.
James M, Kim H, Redclift VM (2014) New racisms, new racial subjects? The neoliberal moment and the racial landscape of contemporary Britain, Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (04) Taylor & Francis
The articles in this volume reflect upon a very specific moment in the social architecture of British society: a moment which brings financial meltdown together with some sizeable shifts in the racial and ethnic landscape of the UK. As a ?neoliberal revolution? (Hall 2011) heralds the end of public services and the end of the welfare state, it proclaims ?the end of race? as well. But cultural retrenchment and coded xenophobia have also been sweeping the political terrain, accompanied by ?new racisms? and ?new racial subjects? which only close contextual analysis can unpick. Against those who suggest we live in a post-racial time, the research presented offers friction. By focusing on particular locations in Britain at a particular moment, the articles explore local stories of ?race? and racism across changing socio-political ground.
Redclift VM (2013) Abjects or agents? Camps, contests and the creation of ?political space?, Citizenship Studies 17 (3-04) pp. 308-321 Taylor and Francis
The 'Urdu-speaking population' in Bangladesh, displaced by Partition in 1947, and made 'stateless' by the Liberation War of 1971, exemplify some of the key problems facing uprooted populations. Exploring differences of 'camp' and 'non-camp' based displacement, this paper represents a critical evaluation of the way 'political space' is contested at the local level and what this reveals about the nature and boundaries of citizenship. Semi-structured and narrative interviews conducted among 'camp' and 'non-camp' based 'Urdu-speakers' found that citizenship status has been profoundly affected by the spatial dynamics of settlement. However it also revealed the ways in which 'formal' status is subverted - the moments of negotiation in which claims to political being are made. In asking how and when a 'stateless' population is able to ?access? citizenship, through which processes and by which means it reveals the tension, ambiguity and conceptual limitations of 'statelessness' and citizenship, unearthing a reality of partial, shifting and deceptively permeable terrain. In doing so, it also reveals the dissonance and discord (constitutive of an 'us' and 'them' divide) upon which the creation of 'political space' may at time rely. Citizenship functions to exclude and, therefore, it is very often born of contestation.
Redclift VM (2013) Rethinking ?the Muslim Community?: Intra-minority relations and transnational political space, Runnymede Perspectives: The New Muslims pp. 37-39 Runnymede Trust
Redclift VM (2012) Illimitable liminality or the return to structure: Locating displacement in Bangladesh, In: Kennedy R, Greenfields M, Rollins J, Gabriel SP (eds.), Diasporic Identities and Spaces Between pp. 33-66 Inter-Disciplinary Press
Of the estimated 1.3 million Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated to Pakistan immediately following the country?s creation in 1947 more than one million migrated to the region of East Bengal in present day Bangladesh.2 Sixty years later, a little over 300,000 are thought to remain, 160,000 of whom are still living in the ?temporary? camps set up by the International Committee for the Red Cross following the War of Liberation in 1971.
The camps themselves represent a liminal space, ?between and betwixt? recognised points of cultural classification.3 Originally constructed as transitory shelters en route to an imagined home (?Pakistan?), forty years on they represent something quite different.
Through the experience of space, settlement and segregation, this paper questions the significance of a sense of ?home? in understandings of ?diasporic identity? and reveals that instead of a transition between homes, these spaces can be understood as liminal homelands in themselves. The camp has become both a collective identity, and the spatial and symbolic site for a re-constructed belonging. Does the resolution of liminality therefore, as assumed by anthropological theory,4 remain elusive?
Alexander C, Redclift VM, Hussain A (2013) Introduction: The New Muslims., Runnymede Perspectives pp. 3-4 Runnymede Trust
Redclift V, Rajina B (2017) Rethinking Muslim Migration: Frameworks, flux and fragmentation, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40 (3) pp. 407-412 Taylor & Francis
In the wake of the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings, as well as the Paris and Brussels attacks, and in the midst of the right wing populism of US Presidential campaigns and UK Referendum debates, the political rhetoric around Muslim migration has sunk to an all-time low. The Bengal Diaspora provides a much needed antidote. By studying Muslim migration across continents the book provides insights into a global climate of Islamophobia, and it challenges us think critically about migration theory?s universalizing logic. In this review essay we will focus on the three areas of study in which the book makes the most striking intervention, as well as three questions is leaves unanswered or poses for future work.
Capturing a snapshot of around the time of the 2015 general election, this research explored the motivations, experiences and thoughts of Germans living in the South-East of England regarding their decision to migrate and settle in the country. As lifestyle migrants, their motivations for moving to the UK ? rather than being predominantly economic ? are constitutive of an individualised pursuit of ?a better life?. Employment and education related reasons were as common among participants as personal life motivations like being with a loved one, and, likewise, a desire to experience life in a different culture. Their accounts of settling in the new environment are largely absent of serious difficulties, which is mostly due the cultural proximity of country of origin and destination, as well as the relatively high level of secondary (and in some cases tertiary) education they benefitted from before embarking on their migratory journey to the UK. Respondents displayed a strong desire to learn the ?British way of life? and blend in as much as they could by letting go of German habits and by purposefully not seeking out or associating with co-ethnics. Their ability to do so is attributed to their white, Western European privilege that provided them with the ?capital? to be able to visually blend in and have the necessary language skills not to depend on co-ethnics. Due to a perceived stigmatised national identity and a strong sense of unease regarding the ?slippery slope? of patriotism, most respondents identified more with transnational and local sources of identity rather than national ones. While this tendency is likely to stem from their nation?s Nazi-past, their thoughts, convictions and self-reported behaviours suggest that they can be understood as part of a (possibly) relatively small, but symbolically significant emerging European civic culture facilitated by the European project of integration.