New Ethnicities As Lived Experience
One key concern in this book is the question of how to effectively centralise informants’ voices; to listen to and interpret the significance of some of their low key everyday utterances and self-representations. This consideration indicated a desire to depart from the tradition, in British Cultural studies of youth, of concentrating on the spectacular and the subcultural. One way of addressing the problem of how to simultaneously capture a sense of individual agency and a sense of social structure is offered by approaches developed by Georges Perec which, Howard Becker states, attempted to, ‘characterize a culture and way of life, both the relevant beliefs and their coordinate activities by the accumulation of formally unanalyzed detail’ (Becker, 2001: 72). Perec’s declarations at the head of this chapter provide an apt articulation of the nub of the issue. What follows is an attempt to realise the effect of a cumulative sense of both individual agency and the spatial and temporal ecology of a specific social and cultural formation. To achieve this effect and to emphasise the unspectacular, commonplace, everyday nature of the informants’ selfrepresentations, I deliberately defer to later chapters detailed interpretation or analysis of their accounts. At this juncture the reader is instead invited to feel new ethnicities in construction as the selected individuals represent their patterns of language use.
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