Nationhood can be conceptualised in many different ways and these conceptualisations determine the level of access that ethnic minorities have to a national identity. This study focuses on social representations of Britishness among British South Asian gay men and their impact for constructing and managing national, ethnic and sexual identities. Fifteen individuals were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule and the data were analysed using thematic analysis and social representations theory. The analysis yielded three themes focusing on the racial representation of Britishness, which emphasised the centrality of race and was perceived to be exclusionary; the multicultural representation, which facilitated both ethnic and British national identification but did not address homophobia in the ethnic ingroup; and the civic/ instrumental representation, which facilitated a sense of belonging in spite of their multiple identities. A civic/ instrumental representation of Britishness appears to be inclusive and may have far-reaching social and psychological benefits.
- national identity
- British South Asians
- gay men
- social representations theory