Centre for Food Policy Research
  1. PhD students
Food Policy

Rima Saini



PhD Topic

Negotiating a visible minority ethnic and ‘middle class’ social identity in the UK: A study of professional British South Asians.


City, University of London (2014-present)

PhD Quantitative Sociology

Awards: Q-Step Funding

City University London (2013-2014)

MSc Social Research Methods (Distinction)

Research: Mixed-methodology study of minority ethnic identity salience and UK political party identification

Awards: Santander City Scholar 2013; PG Sociology Cathie Marsh Prize 2013/14

School of Public Policy, University College London, University of London (2009-2010)

MA Legal and Political Theory

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2006-2009)

BA (Hons) Politics and International Studies

The Study

The intent of my research is to explore the social identity framework behind professional i.e. ‘middle class’ visible minority ethnic groups. I argue that minority racial and ethnic/ethno-religious identity is implicated in how we perceive and experience class, and that identification with a minority identity will thus noticeably affect the extent to which one in turn identifies with their place in the social hierarchy and define the way they engage with society through political and civic action. There is a dearth of literature on the ‘middle classes’ in the UK as a unique and sociologically interesting fraction of society. The experiences of well-off minority group members have similarly received little research attention over the years.

This research will thus constitute a three-part study in the negotiation of social identities across and between British South Asian Professionals. It will employ mixed-methods research (primary data collection entailing semi-structured interviews and statistical analysis of large-scale secondary data) to analyse: Perceptions towards and experiences of ‘middle classness’ across and between South Asian ethno-religious sub-groups; 2) Discrepancies between objective social location and subjective class identification dependent on levels of ethnic and religious identification across and between these sub-groups, and 3) The effect of class, minority ethnic and religious identification on political efficacy, political identification and civic engagement.

Research Interests

The measurement of minority identity, social class and social stratification analysis, the study of intersectionality, mixed methodologies, quantitative data analysis.