In/visibility strategies and enacted diversity: sameness and belonging among young people of Latin American descent living in the north of England (UK)
In Britain, the race relations system underpinning multicultural and integration policies has
created an immigrant incorporation context dominated by a visual regime of difference and
sameness based on racial and ethno-cultural cues (Joppke 1999, Nagel and Staeheli 2008).
This visual regime also needs to be understood in relation to how Western colonialism (and
science) has perpetuated the construct of ‘race’ as a dominant ‘way of seeing, and then categor-
ising, difference’, subsequently placing these differences ‘in a hierarchy of power and value’
which is at the basis of racist practices (Byrne 2006, p. 21). Critical studies on race, disability,
sexuality, etc., have shown how certain ‘visible traits’ (e.g. skin colour, bodily differences,
dressing styles) have been considered to be ‘out of place’, exposing individuals with these
traits to stereotyping, violence and discrimination (Sibley 1995, Nagel and Staeheli 2008,
p. 85). These dominant ways of seeing difference are also crucial when trying to understand
the experiences of integration of ethnic minorities and immigrants, whose marked or unmarked
embodiments have considerable impacts on the ways in which they can negotiate sameness and
membership in their countries of settlement (e.g. Colic-Peisker 2005, Nagel and Staeheli 2008,
Van Riemsdijk 2010).