Ideological themes of eugenics and gender in contemporary British fascism : a discursive analysis
This thesis is a study of contemporary British fascist ideology as expressed in the texts produced by or in association with the British National Party (BNP). It differs from previous studies in that it starts at the depth of the ideology and examines its rhetorical and ideological structure. Drawing on the theory and methodology of critical discourse analysis, this thesis explores the rhetorical and presentational strategies used in contemporary British fascist texts. As such, it examines how constructions of us and the Other are deracialised, warranted and constructed as fact. The thesis also differs from previous studies in that it explores the pattern of contemporary British fascist ideology and emphasises its intrinsically gendered nature. Eugenics is taken as the core ideological theme of fascism, whose focus is on breeding a racially pure and healthy nation. The notion of breeding ensures that gender lies at the core of the ideology. Drawing on the idea of a polarised rhetorical and argumentative structure, this thesis also examines how fascism constructs the ideological opposites of eugenics. The first opposite to eugenics explored in this thesis is liberal ideology and specifically feminism. The analysis examines how fascist opposition to these is based on the essentialist belief in the fixed biological nature of both race and gender. The analysis looks at the presentational strategies as well as the argumentative content of antifeminist discourse in contemporary British fascist texts. The second opposite to eugenics explored is multiculturalism. The thesis explores how stories about rape simultaneously construct race and warrant arguments about the harmful effects of their presence on our society. The analysis examines the various presentational strategies used to portray üs as the victims of the Other. It is by studying the interconnection between these three themes that this thesis argues that fascism, with its eugenic orientation, is not only a racial ideology but a gendered one. The analysis of contemporary British fascist accounts undertaken in this thesis goes some way to providing an understanding of the relationship between gender and race that is at the essentialist core of fascist ideology.