Empirical research into white racialized identities in Britain

Steven Garner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intellectual project of using whiteness as an explicit tool of analysis is not one that has taken root in Britain. However, there are a number of empirical studies that investigate the racialization of white identities. In this article, I look at some empirical sociological fieldwork carried out on white identities in Britain since the early 1990s and identify the key themes arising.
These themes are (in)visibility, norms and values, cultural capital and integration, contingent hierarchies and Empire in the present. In Britain, a pertinent distinction is between rural and urban settings for the enactment of white identities vis-a`-vis those of minorities, and there is an exploration of some of the contingency that draws the boundary between ‘white’ and ‘Other’ in different places. Areas of commonality and distinctiveness are noted in terms of the American work. In the last section, I argue that there are a number of issues to resolve around continuing such studies, including linking the micro-level to the macro-level analysis, and expanding to international comparative work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-802
Number of pages14
JournalSociology compass
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009

Bibliographical note

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Garner, S. (2009). Empirical research into white racialized identities in Britain. Sociology compass, 3(5), 789-802 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2009.00229.x/abstract


  • whiteness
  • empirical
  • racism
  • Britishness
  • race
  • class
  • Britain
  • USA


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