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Title: Between universalism and particularism : government and civil society responses to contemporary antisemitism in Britain
Author: Cardaun, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 8627
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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At the beginning of the twenty-first century, antisemitism still constitutes a significant problem in many parts of the world, including Britain. Although many historical, social and political aspects of anti-Jewish prejudice have been studied extensively, something that has received only scant attention is whether and how key institutions and actors have attempted to counteract it. This thesis contributes towards filling this gap in the scholarly literature by examining governmental and non-governmental responses to contemporary antisemitism in Britain, which it conceptualises as a multi-dimensional and contested social problem. Analysing government documents, parliamentary records and other publications, the thesis compares how state and civil society actors have discursively framed antisemitism, and what practical measures - if any - they have adopted to counter it. This analysis shows that the state has traditionally tended to neglect anti-Jewish prejudice, or to address it only indirectly in the context of much larger categories of issues, such as racism or inequality. While this universalistic approach is not entirely dismissed, the thesis problematizes the underlying assumption that contemporary antisemitism should simply be subsumed under the larger umbrella of racism. The limitations of such an approach become especially apparent in the context of Holocaust remembrance and Holocaust education, to which the thesis devotes a separate chapter. On the other hand, while the thesis does not propose a simple dichotomy of universalistic state responses and particularistic civil society responses, it argues that the work of groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism and the Community Security Trust highlights the potential of civil society to make significant contributions to the fight against contemporary antisemitism by engaging with it as a particular issue. However, an examination of British Israel advocacy organisations in the final chapter demonstrates that this inherent potential is not always realised in practice. Overall, the thesis argues that a multi-level framework for addressing anti-Jewish prejudice that includes different governmental as well as non-governmental actors is most likely to be effective in countering antisemitism in all its complexity.
Supervisor: Miller, Rory David Morris ; Kerr, Michael Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available