Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Thomas R. Paradise

Committee Member

Fiona M. Davidson

Second Committee Member

Joel Gordon

Keywords

Social sciences; Bradford; British identity; Education; England; Muslim identity; National identity; South Asian immigrants

Abstract

In the wake of urban riots and terror attacks in the United Kingdom, British public debate and policy have focused on the nation's immigrant communities. These debates have commonly called into question whether immigrant communities in Britain are sufficiently integrated into "mainstream" society and included in the nation. These questions have been particularly focused on the country's immigrant Muslim communities because they have, over the years, been accused of segregating themselves from, and within, British society. This study explored the local and national identities of young British South Asian Muslims in Bradford, which is one of the largest Muslim communities in Britain. National identity is commonly thought to be predicated upon equality, but there is limited empirical data to support the theory. Through survey-based research, this study adds a layer of data to support the theory as it found young British South Asian Muslims were more likely to identify with the nation if they felt as if they were equal members of society, thought they had equal access to education, or thought British South Asians had equal access to education. This study also explored the educational priorities of the Muslim community because it has struggled to attain a high rate of educational qualifications. This study found the educational goals of British South Asian Muslims differed from those of the White British population. These differing priorities may further explain the communities' educational qualifications gap. As such, this study offers valuable insight for policy makers and educators as they consider consumer demands while allocating scarce resources in the city's education sector.