Centres as Spaces of Interethnic Encou...
Centres as Spaces of Interethnic Encounter in North East England
& Cultural Geography, Volume 16, Issue 8 Pages 888- 908
In this article, Parks starts first by
introducing the issue at hand which is the cohesion between different ethnic
communities in the UK. Basing her argument on other researchers like Simpson,
Anthias, David, and others while citing their works, Parks cites governments
efforts in trying to bring cohesiveness between different ethnic communities
that reside in North East England. She presents various views of writers and
challenging aspects of the same. For example, Parks introduces the ideas of
Staeheli and Nagel where they propose that the host society determine the
grounds of becoming part of the society. Parks presents a counteractive
argument presented by Phillips in 2006 where she argues that integration in the
society is not determined by the host community but by the ethnic background
from where the immigrants come.
Parks further moves from the general
view of the integration of different ethnic communities to the specific topic.
Specifically, she discusses the efforts of the government in promoting cohesion
of diverse ethnic communities through the Sure Start Programmes. With this, she
gives a clear focus for the study which she further elaborates by providing
related data from different studies on the subject. Parks' introduction starts
with the general information on the topic from various researches then narrows
further down to the specific focus of the article. The opening gives a clear
understanding of the issues which not only impacts on the knowledge of the
subject but also allows for a good flow of information for the readership.
The focus of the paper is on ethnical
coherence between the locals in the North East England communities and the
people who migrate to live in the region and whether the Children centers
facilitate the interethnic interactions and mix. Parks draws a lot from
research that was conducted between 2007 and 2008 on two children’s centers in
North East England region. She argues that the role of this centers in dealing
with child poverty and their significant role in improving social cohesion has
been eclipsed by the government where it has reduced the funding without
looking at the impact the programme has on the cohesion.
The paper reviews the various literature
on migration processes and some other encounters other than the Children’s
centers to try and bring out the significance of the Children’s Centers in
increasing interethnic interactions and ultimately promoting cohesion. The
encounters are for the recent immigrants, first-generation immigrants and the
locals (‘white English’) whose origin is where the encounters are happening.
The article further explores the
significance of the interactions in the Children’s Centers between the
indigenous residents and the recent immigrants. The importance is about
language learning and development for the parents who just migrated. The
research, therefore, argues that there is a need for the provision of further
ESOL classes to the immigrant’s parents since this would enhance more
meaningful contact in the Children’s Centers if there were ease in
communication. Parks suggests that further research needs to be done to compare
language barrier with other factors of communication that arose during her
research such as personality barriers and accents in their language.
of the paper
Parks’ paper is structured in such a way
that; she looks at the general idea of encounters between different races based
on various researches, what pushes people to interact based on various
researches she cites and then concludes with what has been done to evaluate the
subject and the gap of research. After reviewing some researches on the general
idea, she points out the gap in research where she specifically states that
research has been done on micro and macro public interactions but none has ever
focused on a more important setup which is the Children’s Center.
After discussing the literature, Parks
proceeds to enlighten the reader on how she collected information, discusses
the results and then concludes the paper with proposals based on her findings.
The literature section of the paper elaborates on research that has been done
on the subjects then build to the point where it shows the gap. Research
methods, on the other hand, discuss the methods used to research on the subject
leading to findings that directly relate to the research gap. It is also the
point where Parks discusses them and the soul of the paper and finally a
conclusion that closes with a recommendation on the argument.
Park creates an argument from a general
point of view to specifics. Because the paper is on immigration and encounters,
the residents have with the migrants, Parks first reviews various researches
that talk about the issue. In her introduction, she presents several views from
different researchers. Then from here draws on the specifics that are directly
related to the subject. After introducing the issue and the various aspects,
Parks presents the areas in which the immigrants and the host communities meet
under the topic geographies of encounter.
Parks divides geographies of encounter
into three sections; Migration and networks, the contact hypothesis, and
‘Micropublics’ and Children’s Centers. Under migration and networks, Parks
focuses on literature that talks about what influences integration in new
countries for immigrants. She presents an argument by one researcher which
suggests that most migrants do not follow unbeaten regions but instead go to
areas that their co-ethnics have already traveled and settled.
It is the co-ethnics that they meet in
their new residence that they relate to as compared to the indigenous
residents. She presents the basis of this assumption through the eyes of
another researcher who suggests that personal information like nationality of
spouse and friends is used to indicate the level of integration. Parks also
presents another argument from a different research which indicates that
encounters of a migrant are shaped by ideas and practices that they come with
from their origin. Hence, proposing that when looking at the interethnic
interaction any research should also consider the origin of the migrant as it
also plays a part in the encounters and interactions.
Parks further goes to discuss the
contact hypothesis where she presents various views on the interaction between
BME groups and the locals. All the opinions she shows seem to rely on the idea
that prejudice in different ethnic communities appears to hinder general
acceptance of an ethnicity, instead interactions with a single individual seem
to reap positive effects. For example, if an ethnic group were to be introduced
to another, there would be some prejudice that would hinder one group from
accepting the other. But from an individual level, this does not seem to happen
because there is a personal interaction.
Parks concludes the literature with
Micropublics and Children’s centers where she explores how researchers have
moved the discussion from Micro level like a local setting to macro-level
interactions like the urban places through the eyes of another researcher. She
explores various kinds of literature that talk about both the macro public and
micro public interactions. She cites many kinds of research that talk about how
macro public interactions are a good place for interactions, but sports clubs
and other interaction sports would form a better place for positive
interactions. Parks gets down to her argument where she concludes that a lot of
research has been conducted on these macro and micro public places but none has
ever focused on Children’s Centers and which is where her research is therefore
The author of this research paper used
two Children’s Centers in these research where she interviewed some parents and
caregivers to children who went here. The author discusses that the initial focus
of the research was to find out the use of Children’s Centers and not on two
specific Centers. The data collected reflected a difference in experience
between the encounters the parents had in the Children’s centers and those
encounters outside the children’s centers with the local broader host
community. The total number of parents and children caregivers was 50 from both
Parks used a table to compile the number
of respondents and the area in which they lived. The research included First-generation
immigrants, recent immigrants and the “White English” who represented the
indigenous people. The research was conducted between 2007 and 2008. One
Children’s Center was known to have taken care of a more diverse cultural mix
since the region was known to have been receiving more asylum seekers with the
other one having less mixed culture. The data collected in the interviews are
presented in the paper on a table. The author argues that Children’s Centers
play a role in promoting encounters and interaction between people of different
races and cultural backgrounds.
An argument presented in the literature
suggested that people from same ethnical background would in a way interact and
go to the Children’s Center. The notion was backed by some interviewees where
one of them even said that she would not have gone to the children’s Centers
were it not for encouragement from the family members.
Another respondent also echoed an
argument presented in the literature that some parents use the Children’s
Centers as an opportunity for the children but also for them to interact and
make new friends. A third respondent also supported the author's argument by
saying that she goes to the Children’s Center for her children to interact with
others, to meet new people from different parts of England and finally to learn
how to speak English. The response was in support of the author’s argument. The
reactions are just a few of the many examples that support the author’s
In conclusion, the author suggests that,
as much as the Children’s Center play a role in developing the English language
for the parents, there needs to be a provision of ESOL classes that help the
new immigrant parents to learn the language. The author also suggests further
research that could be done in the area as there were a lot of issues that were
discovered during the research. The suggestions include a comparison of the
language barrier with other issues like personality barriers, local accents,
and even inter-gender communication.
The author cited thirty-seven (37)
sources 29 of which were peer-reviewed journal articles obtained from online
sources. Five of the references were print books. One of the sources was a
government document, and the other two were media reports. The author did not
obtain any information from Wikipedia are a source close to an encyclopedia.
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