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Recent policy debates are beginning to recognise the potential significance of race in formulating social care policy. This occurs within a wider policy context that emphasises user views. Community service provision, however, has not been responsive to the views of the black user. This paper, by exploring current policy and practice, argues that successful community care cannot rely merely on an understanding of black user views. It must also appraise the organisation and delivery of community services to people who form black minorities.

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Despite an increasing commitment to tackle disadvantage and discrimination, welfare states in the West struggle to provide accessible and appropriate health and social care to people of minority ethnic populations. This article analyses the dilemmas of welfare provision in an ethnically diverse state by drawing on empirical findings from a qualitative study exploring the perceptions and experiences of family life and social support for people of Pakistani origin living in the UK, and its interface with the state as a site of potentially competing and conflicting sets of social values. We conclude by suggesting that a notion of ‘reflexive practitioner’ is fundamental to generating a critical insight that can deal with the tensions posed by diversity for a welfare state.

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This chapter deconstructs the theoretical underpinnings of ethnicity and traces its relationship with ‘race’ and nationality, by turning to empirical examples from both our past and our present. The elections of Donald Trump as the President of the USA and of Sadiq Khan as the Mayor of London (the first person of an Asian/Muslim heritage to be elected as the mayor of a major European capital), in the context of the larger global landscape of terrorist violence and perceptions of national security, remind us of the enduring nature of these debates. While the chapter largely draws on the UK context, there are parallels with broader, contemporary debates on multiculturalism, austerity and securitisation within a global context.

It is argued in this chapter that, given the historical roots of ethnicity as a euphemism for racism in general and cultural racism in particular (through focusing on cultural and religious difference rather than the physical characteristics of ‘race’ per se), the field of ethnicity has remained highly specialised and marginal to mainstream academic, policy and practice discourses in the UK. While highlighting policies and practices that sustain disadvantage and discrimination, which have slowly prompted an (albeit) uneven shift towards a more inclusive society, a focus on ethnicity has also ironically reinforced the marginalisation of people from minority ethnic communities, often making them (‘special’ and) peripheral to broader debates about politics and citizenship. The field is thus marked by continuities and discontinuities, prompting us to recognise various contradictions at different levels. The conceptual and pragmatic tensions within policies related to immigration and particular ‘immigrant’ groups will be explained in greater historical detail in Chapters 3 and 4, and through specific case studies of particular policy areas outlined later, in Part Two.

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This qualitative paper deals with the challenges of translating culturally competent care into practice. It looks at how those working in oncology and reproductive medicine engage with adults from South Asian and white ethnic backgrounds, whose fertility might be affected by cancer. Our findings suggest practitioners, despite a commitment to sensitive care, struggle to engage with cultural diversity and reconciling individual behaviour with what they think they know about South Asian cultures. This creates misunderstandings, leading to poor practice. Our conclusion explores the extent to which practitioners can adopt more sensitive practice by understanding that cultural beliefs are negotiable.

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Policy Press approached us in late 2016, to commission a second edition of this book, reiterating the centrality of ‘race’ and ethnicity to social policy and related disciplinary areas informing practice. We are pleased to bring together the revised and updated chapters, and would like to thank all the authors, including those who contributed to the first edition and those who have taken their place in this second edition, for their valuable contributions. We are especially grateful to Kate Pickett for writing the Foreword and Samara Linton for sharing her blog which appears as the Postscript.

As we noted in the first edition, ‘race’ is a highly contested area and one where many people, including key politicians, feel that the ‘race’ agenda has now largely been addressed. Indeed, John Denham, the outgoing Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2010, argued that ‘it is time to move on from “race”’, and one of Theresa May’s first comments, on becoming Home Secretary that same year, was that ‘equality [including race equality] is a dirty word’. This view was given additional impetus by George Osborne’s (Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010 to 2016) association of the Equality Act with needless red tape that was restricting the growth of enterprise, a view that belied any commitment to hard-fought social justice as we understand it or to a concern with equality, respect, recognition, fairness and democracy (see ‘The Red Tape Challenge’ at In the last few years, as one of us has argued elsewhere (Craig, 2013), there appears to have been a more or less systematic attempt to erase or ‘invisibilise’ a discussion on ‘race’ and ethnicity from public policy.

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Theory, history, policy and practice

This new edition of a widely-respected textbook examines welfare policy and racism in a broad framework that marries theory, evidence, history and contemporary debate. Fully updated, it contains:

• a new foreword by Professor Kate Pickett, acclaimed co-author of The Spirit Level

• two new chapters on disability and chronic illness, and UK education policy respectively

• updated examples and data, reflecting changes in black and minority ethnic demographics in the UK

• a post-script from a minority student on her struggle to make a new home in Britain

Suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social policy, sociology and applied social sciences, its global themes of immigration, austerity and securitisation also make it of considerable interest to policy and welfare practitioners.

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