CRMCS Research Seminar
David Bates (University of Sunderland)
Monday 22nd February, 6pm – David Puttnam Media Centre 233
This research paper will critically examine the media’s role in promoting contemporary British nationalism and the re-emergence of a new ‘white’ identity in the UK in 2009 and 2010, and will attempt to assess the impact of these trends on anti-racism and ‘community cohesion’ with a particular focus on asylum seekers and refugees. It will argue that the slogans used during the ‘wildcat’ strikes at oil refinaries across the UK in January 2009, together with the proportionately large popular vote received by the fascist British National Party in the European elections in June, were the culmination of trends which have been visible in British society for a number of years. Such trends include the discouses of ‘racialisaiton’ advocated by leading politicians and media since the 1970s and 1980s; the abandonment of working class politics by the Labour Party in roughly the same period; and successive governments’ pursuit of an agenda which reinforces identity politics at the expense of tackling structural economic disadvantage and institutional racism. It will be argued that these trends are part of a conscious process to strengthen the British state and make it better equiped for its onslaught against the organised working class in pursuit of a ‘neoliberal’ agenda which vigoursly defends the rights of capital over labour.