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MAKING THE WHITE FOLK ANGRY:THE MEDIA, “RACE” AND ELECTORAL POLITICS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM IN 2010

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Abstract:

This article examines the broadcast and press media’s role in promoting a new “xeno-racism” (Fekete, 2001) and the re-emergence of an exclusivist “white” identity which, it is argued, came to the fore in the period leading up to the 2010 general election in the UK. It argues that there is a strong interplay between elements of the popular media and leading politicians which serves to reproduce essentialising and exclusionary discourses underpinned by specific ideas about “race” and nation. The article focuses particularly on the repeated use of the category “white working class” which features heavily in debates around immigration and national security. In doing so, it will attempt to trace the roots of this “hegemonic whiteness” (Hughey, 2010) and locate its position in wider social, political and economic contexts, including the growing racialisation of Muslims, the previous Labour government’s desire to appear “tough” on immigration and its preoccupation with combating extremism and fighting the “War on Terror” (Saeed, 2004; Kundnani, 2007).

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