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New ethnicities online: reflexive racialisation and the internet

Parker, David; Song, Miri


David Parker

Miri Song


In this article we analyse the emergence of Internet activity addressing the experiences of young people in two British communities: South Asian and Chinese.We focus on two web sites: and, drawing on interviews with site editors, content analysis of the discussion forums,
and E-mail exchanges with site users.
Our analysis of these two web sites shows how collective identities still matter, being redefined rather than erased by online interaction. We understand the site content through the notion of reflexive racialisation. We use this term to modify the stress given to individualisation in accounts of reflexive modernisation. In addition
we question the allocation of racialised meaning from above implied by the concept of racialisation. Internet discussion forums can act as witnesses to social inequalities and through sharing experiences of racism and marginalisation, an oppositional social perspective may develop.
The online exchanges have had offline consequences: social gatherings, charitable donations and campaigns against adverse media representations. These web sites have begun to change the terms of engagement between these ethnic groups
and the wider society,and they have considerable potential to develop new forms of social action.


Parker, D., & Song, M. New ethnicities online: reflexive racialisation and the internet. Sociological Review, 54(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Deposit Date Jan 14, 2008
Journal Sociological Review
Print ISSN 0038-0261
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Issue 3
Keywords ethnicities, online, reflexive racialisation, internet
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The definitive version is available at


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