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Title: Multicultural nationalism, New Labour and the politics of race and state
Author: Pitcher, Ben
ISNI:       0000 0000 7734 3918
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2007
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Under the New Labour government, the state has begun to describe British society in explicitly multicultural terms, employing a new politics of race that has come to be implemented in policy and legislation. This thesis attempts to map state multiculturalism in Britain, to make sense of its historical and conceptual origins, and to consider how it engages with and reconfigures the existing field of race discourse. It is my contention that the British state's involvement in race politics is necessarily overdetermined by a nationalist horizon, sidelining and subordinating an anti-racist agenda to countervailing state interests. Multicultural nationalism accordingly describes as a point of crisis and contradiction the triadic relation between race, nationalism and the state in contemporary Britain. While a pluralist version of nationalism has been mobilized by New Labour in an attempt to define a cohesive national identity, definitions of multicultural citizenship and `Britishness' continue to construct hierarchies of race and culture. State policies deployed at a local level to deal with social conflict are likewise shown to entrench racialized divisions, and to produce them anew in discourses that constitute the white working class as a new racial group in multicultural Britain. This research considers the dynamics of incorporation, the process by which a hitherto marginal and oppositional set of beliefs and practices have been co-opted by the state. It reflects on the state's adoption of a putative feminism in recent conflicts over cultural difference, and the alignment of nationalism and women's rights in discourses of race. Finally, it looks at multicultural nationalism in the context of the War on Terror, and considers how the transnational commitments of some minority communities are problematized by the British state in its efforts to prescribe the terms of their belonging to the nation. It is the object of this research to explore how the politics of New Labour remains informed by a disavowed racist legacy, and to show how modified ideas of racial difference have been utilized across a range of recent state projects. It demonstrates the weaknesses and contradictions inherent in an official multiculturalism that exists alongside - and in combination with - continuing racist practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available