‘The foreignness is still quite visible in this town’: multiculture, marginality and prejudice at the English seaside

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In recent years it has become apparent that experiences of integration, conflict, conviviality and prejudice between different ethnic groups can be found not just in towns and cities but increasingly in peripheral, non-urban areas too. While a small, but significant, body of literature has addressed the impact of these trends in rural environments, studies of seaside and coastal areas remain scarce. Burdsey’s article responds to this omission through an examination of inter-ethnic relations at the English seaside. The English seaside is portrayed habitually as a ‘white’ environment in the popular imagination, and racialized bodies are frequently marked as ‘out of place’. The discussion here highlights challenges to these dominant world-views through growing multicultural settlement in coastal settings, and addresses the implications of these shifts for minority ethnic residents. This is provided through a case study*consisting of in-depth interviews with and observations of minority ethnic groups*in a particular seaside town in southern England. The data highlight the ambivalent positions of respondents in relation to this setting: feelings of affection and belonging alongside those of structural and spatial marginalization and, most significantly, experiences of racism. Burdsey argues that, theoretically, the geographical and cultural marginality of certain seaside towns helps to explain the type of racialized relations that exist within them. In doing so he reinforces calls for going beyond the dominant urban/rural binary found in much of the literature on race, place and identity towards analyses of ‘out of the way’ places
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-116
Number of pages22
JournalPatterns of prejudice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2013


  • coast
  • conviviality
  • English seaside
  • ethnicity
  • marginality
  • multiculture
  • place
  • racism
  • rural racism
  • urban/rural binary


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