Third Westminster Sociology Open Talk of 2017/18: Contesting the Boundaries of Ethno-Religious Identities

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Westminster Sociology Open Talks in 2017-18 bring together Sociology researchers with external speakers to explore a shared topic of interest. In the third talk of the academic year, Dr Umit Cetin and Dr Celia Jenkins are joined by Professor Mary Hickman (London Metropolitan University) to discuss the formation of ethno-religious identities, focusing on two different case studies: the Irish in America (Hickman) and the Alevis in the UK (Cetin and Jenkins).

Date: Thursday 8th February 2018
Time: 5-7pm
Location: The Boardroom, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster, London W1H 2HW

This event is open to academics, students and anyone else who’s interested in this important topic. Attendance is free but we ask attendees to register via Eventbrite.


‘Being Irish American’: a contemporary collective identity?

Professor Mary Hickman, London Metropolitan University

There are indications of robust ethnic identities amongst late-generation European ethnics in the United States against the predictions of assimilation theories. Collective identities, including ethnicity, remain significant in everyday life, however, their quality and character have been subject to change, in response to a range of economic, social and political transformations. This paper explores the basis of the continuing relevance of ‘being Irish American’ across a range of domains based on evidence collected from the NYU Ireland House Oral History Collection.


Re-constructing ‘Aleviness’ in a transnational context

Dr Umit Cetin and Dr Celia Jenkins, University of Westminster

The paper focuses on the continued relevance of being Alevi in the UK through comparison of the social construction and situational aspects of Alevi identity in the transnational contexts of Turkey and the UK. These different contexts provided new means for Alevis to re-construct their community and to create a sense of belonging which has facilitated the transformation of a previously negative identity into a positive one. This paper draws on collaborative action research with the UK Alevi community over the past ten years in their campaign for greater public recognition of their ethno-religious identity.

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