Talking Like a Generation: The ‘Documentary’ Meaning of Ethnicity for Aging Minority Britons

Jennifer Elrick, Erik Schneiderhan, Shamus Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article contributes to the ‘cognitive turn’ in the study of ethnicity and national identity, which focuses on how individuals construct ethnic identity categories pertinent to social cohesion. Using Mannheim as a methodological and analytical guide, we show how examining ethnicity as a relational enactment devoid of a priori categorisations allows situational identities that intersect with classical sociological concepts other than ethnicity – namely generation, class, and citizenship – to emerge within and across typical ethnic categorisations. We draw on an analysis of micro-level interactions among 40 aging ‘black and minority ethnics’ (BMEs) engaging in small-group discussions and a large deliberative assembly held in London in 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1189
Number of pages17
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 12 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • United Kingdom
  • citizenship
  • class
  • deliberation
  • documentary meaning
  • enactment
  • ethnicity
  • generation
  • immigration
  • national identity


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