9 March 2011

Of Muslims living in Scotland (& a slurp of culture)

A couple of interesting reports from the Scottish Government this evening. I hope to take a closer look at each of them in turn at a later date, but I wanted to pop a wee link up to each, to allow the especially curious to bash on for themselves. Firstly, we have Paul Widdop and David Cutts of the University of Manchester, who look at Cultural Consumption in Scotland, based on analysis of statistical data from our old friend, the Scottish Householder Survey. Libraries? Museums? Cinema? Theatre? Ballet?

"This research was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore statistical evidence from survey data to establish whether taking part in culture in Scotland depends both on who you are and where you live. Previous descriptive analyses had suggested that some socio-demographic factors were associated with cultural choices. This research quantifies the relative importance of each of these factors and provides a useful addition to existing quantitative and qualitative research evidence in this area. The research provides strong evidence that some demographic factors (e.g. education) are more important than others. Using this information, it will be possible to target those individuals who may be at a disadvantage in terms of engaging with culture."

Secondly, we have Sara Kidd and Lynn Jamieson's Experiences of Muslims living in Scotland:

"This research is a scoping study to help improve the evidence base on the experiences of Muslims living in Scotland, with a specific focus on experiences of discrimination and religious intolerance. The research was carried out to understand more fully the experiences of Muslims living in Scotland both in response to the Scottish Government's wider commitment to equality for all people in Scotland, and the specific commitment set out in the Race Equality Statement.

The research specifically considered how Muslims living in Scotland understand their identity and the extent, shape and context of religious intolerance and racism against Muslims living in Scotland.

The research design employed involved a number of stages. A literature review of published research into the experiences of Muslims in Scotland and the United Kingdom was carried out. Later, a scoping survey was developed and carried out with Muslims in Scotland. Finally, focus group discussions were held with Muslim women and young Muslims.

The central aim of the focus groups was to explore the extent to which racism and religious intolerance impact on the lives of Muslims living in Scotland. It is important to note the term 'Islamophobia' was not used at all in introducing the research with young Muslims after the pilot focus groups with Muslim women identified that the term was not widely understood or accepted. An interest in experiences of racism was indicated at the outset.

This report found evidence of a shortage of research into the experiences of Muslims in Scotland. In particular, research that considers the diversity both within and across Muslim communities. This is despite the fact several writers have acknowledged there are particular differences between Scotland and England (see for example Hopkins 2008). Future research projects should aim to address this evidence gap."

The authors specifically focus on issues of identity, national identity; friendliness, mixing and distance; locality and community and experiences and fears of intolerance and discrimination. In the interests of disclosure, I've not had time to cast more than a cursory eye across these reports myself, so cannot speak to the virtues or deficiencies of their methodologies or of their conclusions. The subject matters of each seems potentially promising, in any case. Judge for yourselves.

No comments :

Post a Comment