Sometimes antagonistic, sometimes ardently sympathetic: Contradictory responses to migrants in postwar Britain

Article


Nava, M. 2013. Sometimes antagonistic, sometimes ardently sympathetic: Contradictory responses to migrants in postwar Britain. Ethnicities. 14 (3), pp. 458-480.
AuthorsNava, M.
Abstract

Most sociological and anthropological studies of UK race relations produced in 1950s stress the wide spectrum of British reactions to new migrants. Yet, recent historians have tended to focus on the racism and xenophobia of the research and period, on the ‘antagonisms’. The ‘ardently sympathetic’ responses referred to by Ruth Glass in 1960, which were evident also in 1950s fiction, film and radical political movements, have often been ignored or misrepresented in order to construct a more dystopian picture. This article examines the cultural and sociopolitical context of the time and argues that the mood was more critical of British insularity and more anti-racist than many recent historians of 1950s Englishness and race relations research allow. This was, in part, the influence of dislocated intellectuals from postwar continental Europe and the commonwealth, white and black, who, radicalised by anti-fascism and decolonisation, contributed to a growing cosmopolitanism.

Keywordsracism; anti-racisim; Ruth Glass; Sheila Patterson
JournalEthnicities
Journal citation14 (3), pp. 458-480
ISSN1741-2706
1468-7968
Year2013
PublisherSAGE
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468796813508115
Publication dates
Print30 Oct 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Nov 2013
Copyright informationArticle to be published by SAGE in Ethnicities, DOI 10.1177/1468796813508115
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