Dr Katharine Tyler
Senior Lecturer (Anthropology)
My research contributes to two areas in social anthropology and the inter-disciplinary field of critical race studies, namely, whiteness studies and everyday understandings of genetics, genealogy and ethnicity. My work is founded upon reflexive, multi-sited, residential ethnographic fieldwork within urban, suburban and semi-rural locales of Britain. I have published articles and books on the following themes: whiteness and social class; the idea of the English village as a classed and racialised space; the formation of interracial (mixed-race) identities; race and the new genetic technologies with reference to the new reproductive technologies; ethnicity, the state and collective action; Englishness, whiteness and the legacies of Empire.
With C. Degnen (eds.) (2017, in proof) Reconfiguring the Anthropology of Britain: Ethnographic, Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, the Sociological Review Monograph and to be published as an issue of the Sociological Review, 65(1) Sage
Tyler, K. (2012) Whiteness, Class and the Legacies of Empire: On Home Ground, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
With Petersson, B. (eds.) (2008) Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
With C. Degnen (2017, in proof) ‘Amongst the disciplines: anthropology, sociology, intersection, and intersectionality’ in Reconfiguring the Anthropology of Britain: Ethnographic, Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, co-edited by Degnen and Tyler, the Sociological Review Monograph, and the Sociological Review 65(1), Sage.
With C. Degnen (2017, in proof) ‘Bringing Britain into Being: sociology, anthropology and British lives’ in Reconfiguring the Anthropology of Britain: Ethnographic, Theoretical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, co-edited by Degnen and Tyler, the Sociological Review Monograph, and the Sociological Review 65(1) Sage.
Tyler, K (2016) ‘The suburban paradox of conviviality and racism in postcolonial Britain’ pre-print published on Taylor & Francis Online. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Tyler, K (2015) ‘Attachments and connections: a “white working class” English family’s relationships with their BrAsian “Pakistani” neighbours, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38 (7), 1169-84.
Tyler, K. (2012) ‘The English village, whiteness, coloniality and social class’, Ethnicities, 12 (4) 427-44
Tyler, K. (2011) ‘New ethnicities and old classities: respectability and diaspora’, Social Identities 17 (4) 523-42
Tyler, K. (2009) ‘Whiteness studies and laypeople’s engagements with race and genetics’, New Genetics and Society 28 (1) 35-48
Tyler, K. (2008) ‘Ethnographic approaches to race, genetics and genealogy’, Sociology Compass 2 (5) 1860-77
Tyler, K. (2007) ‘Streetville Forever’: collective action, ethnicity and the state’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 14 (5) 579-602
Tyler, K. (2005) ‘The genealogical imagination: the inheritance of interracial identities’, The Sociological Review 53 (3) 475-94
Tyler, K. (2004) ‘Racism, tradition and reflexivity in a former mining town’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 27 (2) 290-309
Tyler, K. (2003) ‘The racialised and classed constitution of English village life’, Ethnos 68 (3) 391-412
Tyler, K. (2010) ‘Baltuju etniskumo dekolonizavimas: domejimasis genetikos mokslu’ (‘Decolonising white ethnicity: postcolonial engagements with genetic science’). In Socialine Antropologija Ethnografija Ir Biotechnologija. Edited by Aukusole Cepaitiene. University of Vilnius Press, pp. 105-17
Tyler, K. (2008) ‘Debating the rural and the urban: majority white racialised discourses on the countryside and the city’. In Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This? Petersson and Tyler (eds) pp. 75-93
Tyler, K. (2008) ‘Majority cultures and the everyday politics of ethnic difference’. In Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This? Petersson and Tyler (eds) pp.1-14
Petersson, B. and Tyler, K. (2008) ‘The making and breaking of difference: concluding thoughts’. In Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is This? Petersson and Tyler (eds) pp. 226-37 (co-written with Petersson)
Tyler, K. (2007) ‘Race, genetics and inheritance: reflections upon the birth of “black” twins to a “white” IVF mother’. In Race, Ethnicity and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics. Edited by Peter Wade, Berghahn Books, pp. 33-51 (republished in paperback in 2009)
Tyler, K. (2006) ‘Village people: race, nation, class and the community spirit’. In The New Countryside? Ethnicity, Nation and Exclusion in Contemporary Rural Britain. Edited by Sarah Neal and Julian Agyeman, Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 129-48
Tyler, K (2014) ‘White bound: nationalists, antiracists, and the shared meanings of race’, by Matthew Hughey, Ethnic and racial studies, 37 (10) 2014, 1986-89
Tyler, K. (2009) ‘The Everyday Language of White Racism’, by Jane H. Hill, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15 (4) 860-1
Tyler, K. (2008) ‘A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain’, by N. Ali, V. Kalra and S. Sayyid (eds). Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14 (1) 204-6
Tyler , K. (2005) Reflections on ‘Local Democracy and the Race-relations Amendment Act’, Left Curve 29 112-13
Tyler , K. (2002) ‘A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience’ by Simon Charlesworth, The Sociological Review 50 (2) 303-6
Tyler, K. and O. Jensen (2009) Communities within communities: a longitudinal approach to minority/ majority relationships and social cohesion, ESRC
With Jensen O. (2009) Communities within communities: reflections on belonging, ethnicity and neighbourhood relations, a twenty-page booklet summarising key findings for ‘user’ dissemination and impact
Tyler, K. (2005) ‘Comprehénsion publique des notions de race et de génétique: au apercu des résultats d’une récente recherché au Royaume-Uni’ (see also English translation: ‘A summary of findings of a project that examined public understandings of race and genetics in the UK’), Bulletin of L’Observatoire de la Génétique, Centre de bioethique, Montreal
Research group links
My research contributes to two areas in social anthropology and the inter-disciplinary field of critical race studies, namely, whiteness studies and everyday understandings of genetics, genealogy and ethnicity. My work is founded upon reflexive, multi-sited, residential ethnographic fieldwork within urban, suburban and semi-rural locales of Britain.
I have conducted two periods of ethnographic fieldwork in urban, suburban and semi-rural areas of Britain. I conducted one year of residential fieldwork in a suburban village and a former coalmining town in the Midlands area of England. In this research, I examined the formation of white English/British ethnicities across differing racialised and classed landscapes. I returned to this region to conduct a further fifteen months of residential ethnographic fieldwork in an ethnically diverse area of the inner city. I explored everyday understandings of genealogy and ethnicity, paying particular attention to the ways in which members of interracial ('mixed-race' in popular discourse) families think about ideas of belonging, inheritance and ancestry across racial and ethnic lines. This project also examined lay understandings of race and the new genetic technologies.
This aspect of my work formed part of a larger EU funded framework 5 project that explored the new genetic technologies and the formation of social identity. This project was based at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester. The team included mostly social anthropologists from Universities in Britain (Manchester), Spain (Barcelona), Norway (Oslo), Hungary (Budapest), Lithuania (Vilnius), France (Paris) and Italy (Rome).
Central to my work has been my exploration of everyday experiences of ethnic identity, class, place, community and belonging. It is this aspect of my work that formed one impetus for an ESRC grant that I was awarded in 2008 [PI 2008 –2009 (April – March) Principal Investigator,ESRC Small Grants Scheme. ‘Communities within communities: a longitudinal approach to minority/majority relationships and social cohesion’. Value: £81,795.93 (cash limit FEC)
This research was based on ten months of residential fieldwork in a suburban town in the South East of England with white Italian, British Pakistani minorities and the white British majority. Drawing upon in-depth interviews within families and across generations, the project examined the experiences of difference, community, identity and belonging in a specific locale over time.
I have recently published a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan (2012) entitled Whiteness, Class and the Legacies of Empire: On Home Ground. The book questions what Britain's inglorious history of colonial exploitation has got to do with the tranquil, green and pleasant environment of the village community that is typically taken to represent the quintessence of Englishness? The book is a personally mediated, reflexive ethnography of the historically influenced, geographically situated, embodied, classed and racially differentiated constitution of contemporary urban and suburban identities. It is grounded in my experience of the ways in which social identity is constructed and maintained via ethnography of a village-like community, a post-industrial town and an inner-city locale, all of which are situated within close proximity to one another. The central focus is on how it is that white ethnicity is rendered invisible. What comes to light is a picture of contemporary people's conceptions of themselves conditioned by, and deriving from, the unknown and forgotten legacy of a colonial past that cannot be confined to the past.
I have also co-edited a book with Prof. Bo Petersson, Lund University Sweden, entitled Majority Cultures and the Everyday Politics of Ethnic Difference: Whose House is this? This book examines the ways in which 'majority' cultures govern and represent minorities and recent immigrants. The volume asks what is the impact of globalization, governance and immigration controls on the construction of the majority 'self' and minority 'other'? How do people perceive minorities and the arrival of immigrants of different nationalities to local societies? How are issues of ethnic difference represented and managed in sites of entrenched ethnic violence and ongoing conflict? In addressing these questions this book offers a rich collection of essays that scrutinize the processes through which Western cultures represent and exclude those people that are considered to be ethnically 'other'.
Current Doctoral Students University of Exeter
Stuart Scrase - Understanding the London Riots 2012 - (full time, funded by the ESRC)
Rebecca Yeo - Asylum and Diasbility (with the University of Bath, full time, funded by the ESRC)
Hazel O'Brien - an ethnographic study of Mormons in Ireland, (full time, funded by the Waterford Institute of Technology, 2014-)
Completed Doctoral Supervision at the University of Surrey, Department of Sociology
Lexi Scherer (1+3 ESRC studentship, PhD awarded 2013) Children, reading and ethnic identities, based on ethnographic fieldwork in a primary school in London
Helen Moore ( 1+3 ESRC studentship, Principal Supervisor, PhD awarded 2013) Rurality, white ethnicity and Englishness, an ethnographic study that examines white villagers' perceptions of Eastern European migrants in an English village
Charlie Leddy-Owen ( +3 ESRC studentship, Principal Supervisor, PhD awarded 2013) Everyday perceptions of Englishness, based on interviews with the residents of a suburban area of London
Sylvie Patel (PhD Awarded June 2010; self-funded) A Comparative study of Islam and ethnicity amongst school children in Britain and France
M. Abdou (PhD awarded Sept 2009; funded by Ministry of Education, Egypt, full-time) Ethnicity, religion and workplace segregation in Egypt
Sam Murphy (PhD awarded Dec 2008, ESRC funded, full-time) A qualitative study of gendered experiences of stillbirth
Harshad Keval (PhD awarded Jan 2008 self funded, part-time) Cultural negotiations in health and illness
Wong (PhD awarded 2007 self funded, full-time) An ethnography of British Chinese children
Editorial Board membership
2011-: Editoral Board member of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
2009-: Editoral Board member of Ethnic and Racial Studies
2006-: Editorial Board member of Sociology Compass, race and ethnicity section
2005-: Co-founder and convenor with Cathrine Degnen (Newcastle) of the ASA (Association of Social Anthropologists) Anthropology of Britain Network . The network's aim is to provide a forum which will facilitate a greater level of communication between researchers with an ethnographic interest in contemporary British society. Go to http://www.theasa.org/networks/aob.shtml for further info on AOB.
I gained my bachelor degree (BSocSci) and PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. After my PhD I held a one-year fixed-term post in the Department of Sociology (as it was then) at the University of Exeter. I then returned to the Department of Social Anthropology at Manchester to work as a post-doctoral fellow on an EU-funded project. My first permanent position was Lecturer in Race and Ethnicity in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey (2004-2012). I took-up the post of Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Exeter in September 2012.