Determining the identity of 'black Africans' in UK population and health policy contexts: ethical issues and challenges

Aspinall, Peter J. and Chinouya, Martha (2011) Determining the identity of 'black Africans' in UK population and health policy contexts: ethical issues and challenges. Social Identities, 17 (2). pp. 255-270. ISSN 13504630. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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In everyday settings in the UK the self-determination of identity has been taken for granted. In the decennial census and the bureaucratic practices of modern governance, the ascription of ethnicity is in the hands of the subject who is the final arbiter, even if this sometimes breaks down by default. However, for some minority ethnic groups, notably 'black Africans', a group 'created' by the decennial census, observer-led approaches to determining identity have insinuated themselves into some policy contexts in the UK. The targeting by HIV/AIDS workers of 'black Africans' in mundane public settings based on such signalling devices as appearance and language or accent has been endorsed as a modus operandi in preventative care. For around a decade the UK Border Agency has made use of linguistic analysis and other forensic methods to establish the nationality of Somali-origin asylum seekers as against claims from other East Africans. Its latest Human Provenance Pilot Project - the use of isotope analysis and DNA ancestry testing to establish nationality - again places 'black Africans' on the front line. These external processes of identification raise important ethical challenges, given the potential for harm when assignment is incorrect.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: 'black African', asylum seeker, ethics, identity, language analysis
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2011 10:23
Last Modified: 08 May 2014 07:57
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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