AbstractThe Mixed ethnic identity continues to grow, and it is often seen as a modern phenomenon. However, the idea of “mixedness” runs deep throughout English history, with intrinsic connections to the British empire and the formation of ideas of “race”. The concepts forged through empire seeped into domestic responses and reactions to “mixedness” and prevailed beyond the end of empire.
This thesis examines how ideas of “mixedness” have been constructed and responded to throughout modern English history and will analyse how “mixedness” has been navigated and experienced. Through an analysis of each layer – constructions, responses and experiences – this thesis aims to analyse “mixedness” in a nuanced and multidimensional way. It expands beyond the topics of “mixedness” that have been extensively covered, such as the fixation on identity and struggle.
Instead, this thesis analyses various experiences of people growing up Mixed while drawing on a concept of “ordinariness”. The thesis utilises an oral history methodology and focuses on nine original oral histories from Mixed people growing up in England in the 1970s and 1980s – specifically the black and white dichotomy of “mixedness”. The interviewees talk about family, home, school, playing out, identity, and more.
Through examining oral histories, the core analysis of this thesis proposes that “mixedness” can be experienced as ordinary; that sometimes, on an everyday level of existence, it is possible to simply be “ordinary”. However, the thesis also considers that while “mixedness” did not guarantee feelings of difference and marginality, sometimes the ability to feel ordinary was limited to different “spaces” and “places” which people inhabit throughout their lives. “Ordinariness” was not absolute and, for some, was not always the dominating experience of “mixedness”.
|Date of Award||2022|
|Supervisor||Vikram Visana (Main Supervisor)|