Conflicting Identities

Conflicting IdentitiesConflicting Identities: Religion, Race and Belonging in a Changing World was a one-day horizon-scanning workshop in collaboration with BBC Religion and Ethics. It invited senior and early-career members of academic, media, government and non-governmental organisations to the Whitworth Council Chamber, University Main Building, Oxford Road on the 21st May 2010, to discuss how religious and ethnic identity influence social inclusion. Following a keynote lecture by Linda Woodhead, director of the AHRC/ESRC research programme on Religion & Society, round-table discussions will offer an opportunity for members of the media and stake-holder organizations addressing the challenges of an inclusive society to learn from – and inform – the thinking of outstanding academics whose work is shedding light on the following key issues.

Inherited Identities: Youth cultures and inter-generational tensions. How do communities persuade the ‘next generation’ to continue cultural traditions? The role of schools, teachers, and media heroes. Rebellion, respect for elders, and self-definition. The pressures of ‘crossing over’ to the dominant culture. The challenges of a multi-cultural society to families, ethnic groups, and religious communities.

Visible Identities: The tensions and expectations surrounding visible signs of identity such as crosses, turbans, and head-scarves, from social awkwardness to racial profiling. Conformity, conflict, and contested identity in the schools and public services. Whose rights will be protected? Who must take responsibility?

Violent Identities: Why individuals join extremist organizations. How religion and history are brought into play to justify and romanticize violence. Is violence ever genuinely religious – and what does that mean?  How do individuals – especially young adults – assess the legitimacy of incendiary voices? How can religious (and other) communities distance themselves from terrorist and other extreme acts?

The call for participation and programme can both be seen here. The event  was sponsored by the Global Uncertainties: Security for all in a Changing World, a priority research programme of Research Councils UK (


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