This essay will consist of examples from the ‘Connecting Lives’ chapter and film, highlighting the difference and inequality through connections, expanding on my existing knowledge from TMA01, in which I defined the terms ‘Inequality and difference’ on city road. I aim to discuss some of the differences and inequality faced by Nof, who was born an Iraqi but has lived much of his working life in Britain and the case of Stephan, where an accident disrupted his existing connections and left him disabled.
As a migrant, Nof to make his connections through his different restaurant businesses. The Hawaiian was his first venture in to the restaurant business, and was extremely successful, bringing in people from all over Cardiff and the valleys. As the socio-economic change came, so did the new development of Cardiff bay. The competition from the larger, more modern restaurants built as part of the development program eventually led Nof to close down.
His latest restaurant, La Shish, reconnects Nof with his original Iraqi culture and also reconnects him to the migrant community. La Shish has brought about a lot of business with the introduction of a separate shisha pipe-smoking section. Nof is therefore connected to many social worlds. Nof shows how connections remakes people and their sense of who they are, in terms of their identities.
In Nof’s case he questions if his identity is British, Iraqi or ‘in-between’, however, based on his colour and his accent he is not given a British identity by others. Identity connects people with others like them with a common ground, but at the same time allowing them to be different. Everyone perceives people differently, and sometimes it is not always a positive outlook. Some people might be excluded and treated both differently and unequally if their identity is not valued by others. This is clear in the fact that Nof’s original career was engineering, however after 250 applications and he nothing to show for it, he decided to move in to the restaurant business. Nof may be a UK citizen and a resident who has lived and worked in Cardiff for many years, contributing to the economy and running popular restaurants that are visited by many people, but, for some, Nof’s skin colour and accent continue to mark him as racially or ethnically different.
Stephen’s story in Connecting Lives (The Open University, 2014a) where he originally discards the idea of becoming a member of the society who uses a wheelchair because that would then label him as ‘disabled’. Stephen’s disability was thrust upon him as a result of an unfortunate accident, his lack of choice in the matter has provided him with a new identity of being a person who is disabled. Having a disability can disconnect people from places, particularly when the physical environment is not adapted for people with mobility problems. Although through time conditions have improved for people who use city road with a disability, there are still many places do not cater for wheelchair users.
In one particular instance, having a disability disconnected Stephen from his family when they went out on a trip to a concert. This caused both physical and emotional distress, by sitting away from his family and therefore disrupting an otherwise enjoyable family experience by not being able to sit together. Inequalities persist in city road for users with disability today, however the support of his family Stephen has been able to make new connections. Stephen now sees himself as a disability activist, an identity he is proud to claim, and he has made new connections to the wider social world.