Rural village communities in England are commonly portrayed as being neighbourly and close-knit, with villagers perceived as having a deep-seated sense of local identity complemented by strong feelings of belonging. This narrow view obscures, and marginalizes, the experiences of minority ethnic residents who can often feel excluded from village life. This article assesses whether the process of ‘othering’ that works to ostracize minority ethnic households is similar to that experienced by all ‘outsiders’ who are newcomers to rural living. It is argued that the conflation of rurality with notions of Englishness and ‘whiteness’ serves to reinforce this marginalization. Indeed, the scattered distribution of minority ethnic populations in the rural means that any understanding of these ‘communities’ needs to recognize that they are not ‘communities of place’ but instead are ‘communities of shared risk’, as it is the risk of racist harassment that provides commonality, kinship and shared experience amongst these diverse populations
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