Multicultural Nationalism New Labour and the Politics of Race and State


Pitcher, Ben 2007. Multicultural Nationalism New Labour and the Politics of Race and State. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsPitcher, Ben

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.

Keywordsmulticultural nationalism; War on Terror
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Deposited09 May 2011
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This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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