Draft. Lecture (autumn semester) Postcolonial immigration (English case study)


In this lecture we are going to discuss post-war immigration and settlement to England (a narrower focus than the UK, and introduce some of the key postcolonial perspectives that help illuminate the im/mobilities, political and media discourse and im/mobility policies that developed in this post 1945 period.

Immigration prior to WWII

Prior to the second world war, England was already a country of immigration. This was mainly due to its status as one of the nations of the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales) and its marginalisation of the Irish through a form of quasi-colonisation.


The prevailing racism of English attitudes to immigrants became evident in its response to Jewish immigration during the second world war, and afterwards.

By the 1940s, there were approx. 400,000 refugees from Nazi germany. They came despite the Aliens Act (1905) which was designed to restrict Jewish immigration (particularly the immigration of poor Eastern European Jews).The British government  limit the offer of protection to the amount of refugees that Jewish organisations were prepared to fund. It refused to extend this policy to the general population (as members of the public had offered to support Jewish refugees) as the effect would have been an extension rather than limitation of support.

Between 1933 and 1948 Britain limited Jewish immigration

  • The Anschluss (annexation of Austria, 1938) produced a vast increase in the need for refuge,
  • By 1939, 60,000  refugees, including 10,000 Kindertransport children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia

In 1939 only ten per cent of refugee applicants were successful. Eastern European political refugees preferred over Jewish persons

  • restrictive visa requirements from Austria and Germany, and pre-selection from abroad.
  • Refugees only had temporary residence
  • Had to have own business, work as domestic servants; the Anglo-Jewish orgs had to support those in need
  • Many members of the public offered their own homes and resources,  the government declined
  • All visas cancelled during the war
  • the EVWS rejected Jewish immigrants.

Post-war immigration (1945 +)

  • Labour migration
  • Temporary workers
  • Colonial tie migration
  • Chain migration

Pull factors

Need to build post-war economy after loss of world power status to US

Labour shortages:

  • Loss of working age males in the Second World War; female workers return to households
  • large-scale emigration of British persons to the white dominions in the post-war period (1.5 million had emigrated by 1960)
  • 1948/49, government states a need for a guest-worker scheme of up-to 1 million workers.


European ‘push’ factors for post war migration

  • 1.8 million refugees living in 262 Displace Persons camps run by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) (1945)
  • By 1947 these numbers had been swelled by large flows of Eastern European Jews (UNRRA had become responsible for an additional 500 camps).
  • Anti-Semitic conflict, homelessness and poverty were the major ‘push’ factors for many of the millions of post-war Europeans caught in refugee camps or  homeless
  • Many would have accepted the chance to re-settle and work in Britain

War time migration & settlement
 in Britain(1938-45)


  • 60,000 refugees & Kindertransport
  • 300,000 Dutch and Belgian citizens after the invasion of Netherlands, Belgium
  • 115,000 Polish allied fighters

Colonial workers

  • 1,200 British Hondurans in the Scottish highlands felling timber
  • 1,000 West Indians in the Merseyside and Lancashire war factories;
  • 10,000 West Indians as ground crews for the Air Force
  • 1,000s of colonial seamen were recruited or enlisted to work in the merchant navy.


1938-45: 70,000 into England & Wales.

Post-war immigration

1946-59: 350,000 Irish workers (net inflow)

  • Many more in circular migration (moving back and forth for work, family)
  • their entry was unrestricted
  • Status as Irish citizens granted British subjecthood.

European labour migration between 1946 -51 brought in 460,000 European migrants.

  • 90,000 migrants (Poles, Italians, and others from displaced persons camps in Germany and Italy) under the European Voluntary Workers Scheme (EVWS)
  • British state undertook ‘to meet all the costs of recruitment, transport and repatriation on behalf of British business.
  • European migrants were recruited to fill gaps in the labour market in agriculture, brick-making, coal-mining, engineering, hospitality, metal production, textiles, and hospitals.

New Commonwealth migration Push & Pull factors

Push factors:

West Indies. Unemployment, population growth, and the cutting of alternative outlets for migration;Late 1940s + West Indians began to emigrate to escape chronic unemployment, poverty, and violent levels of socio-political unrest. West Indians migrated to the US, within the Caribbean itself, and to Canada and Britain.

Indian and ‘Pakistani’ people migrated after the partition of 1947 which caused the displacement of I5 million people; many from  Sikh communities from the Punjab where they had been driven by the annexation of ‘West Pakistan’.

Pull factors:

Job opportunities and better opportunities and prospects in Britain, opportunity to support family via remittances. Zig Layton-Henry

remittances that migrants sent home during this period rapidly became a dominant form of GNP in the Caribbean nations; i.e., second highest component for Jamaica 1948-1951.

New Commonwealth & varied immigration

1953-1961 (net)





Net migration

  • 1951-61 + 12,000;
  • 1961-71, – 320,000
  • 1971-1981, – 306,000
  • 1981-91, +75,000 est.
  • 1991-2001, +737,000 est.
  • 2001-2011, +2,184,000 est

Today approx. 5.5. million UK citizens live abroad

Four phases of immigration policy in the UK


Four phases of immigration policy

  • Controls on Jews and other ‘aliens’ arriving from Europe, 1905 onwards (1905 Aliens Act)
  • Controls on New (black and Asian) Commonwealth migrants, as opposed to Old (white) Commonwealth immigrants, 1962 onwards explicit distinctions being made
  • Controls on the entry and rights of asylum seekers, 1980s onwards
  • 1990s+ ‘Managed migration’ and tighter more selective controls on labour migration, including some Eastern European migrants such as Bulgarians and Romanians 
  • Managed migration’
    • Immigration policy has become a key area of policy development for UK and European governments:
    • introducing increasingly restrictive immigration controls
    • reviewing and revising their models for integrating migrants into UK society.

Restricting irregular immigration & settlement

  • Policy focus on deportations (see UK Border Agency for press releases)
  • Policy focus on language schools, further ed. colleges
  • Workplace raids
  • Some countries have used regularisation programmes to overcome the problems of undocumented migrants, the UK has limited experience of this

Explanations for restrictions:

  • 1) ‘Securitization’ – (terrorism, crime, social relations)
  • certain policy issues (like migration) become constructed into issues of security
  • Governments try to maintain authority by promising to protect their citizens from insecurities associated with immigration. These promises serve as a diversion or explanation for economically generated fear that the state has little control over.
  • Social relations (see Enoch Powell and Rivers of Blood speech) – Societal security refers to the way in which social relations are managed and how threats to them can be prevented (Walters 2004).
  • Economic  concerns, welfare state and citizenship
  • Citizenship (T. H. Marshall, 1964: 71-72)
    • Civil: the “the rights necessary for individual freedom”.
    • Political: “the right to participate in the exercise of political power”.
    • Social: “economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilised being according to standards prevailing in the society”
  • Welfare, economy, jobs
    • The welfare state has played a significant role in understandings of citizenship since its emergence during the twentieth century (Schierup et al. 2006).
    • Concerns over the allocation of public resources and economic concerns (Bloch & Schuster 2002)
    • Lucassen (2005: 15) refers to the creation of the welfare state and the concern that developed over ‘free riders’. (i.e. ‘scroungers’)
Battle for Cable Street 196

“East End Jews were under siege from Oswald Mosley’s fascists. Blackshirted street corner speakers railed against the Jews, “rats and vermin from the gutters of Whitechapel”, blaming them for every social ill”.

Unintended consequences: changing demography & identities

Multi-ethnic UK and Europe

  • British Nationality Act 1948 granted the subjects of the British Empire the right to live and work in the UK. Commonwealth citizens were not, therefore, subject to immigration control
  • Questioning/conflicts over British/European National identity
  • Imagined Communities (Benedict Anderson, 2016)

Contested racialisation of immigration

  • Early to mid 20th C time of xenophobia, racial and ethno-nationalism (settler colonies took liberal Britain as their icon of homogenous community, ie.e White Australia Policy; First Aliens Act 1905 designed to prevent Jewish immigration
  • As well as xenophobic violence during the war, there were racist riots and then government deportation programs directed at black and Brown maritime workers after the war, including Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, London, Cardiff, Hull. Only some socialist and minority left wing supported internationalism

    (Virdee, 99).

  • Post-war: Contests between anti racism and ongoing xenophobia, racial and ethno-nationalism

“the state, employer and worker came to adhere to a common belief in British nationalism underpinned by a shared allegiance to whiteness”. Virdee, Satnam.(2016. 99).

  • Such ethno-nationalism was contested. For example, Jewish, Labour, socialist and local residents combine to riot against a British Union of Facists march in the East End 1938; Mosley’s facism was anti-semetic.Public anti-racism, empathy for Jews in England, and Europe


Jewish children arriving at London under the Kindertransport program in 1939. The program had widespread public support (with more offers to take children than the government was prepared to rescue)

Post-war Political discourse

  • Immigration linked to social problems in terms ethnicity, ‘race’, size of immigrant population (Solomos, 1993)
  • Enoch Powell, Rivers of Blood Speech, 1968

    Powell chose to make this speech just 16 days after the assassination of the US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, and amidst the urban unrest that followed throughout most American cities. Contained within the speech is a warning to the British political class; that if they didn’t take action and repatriate non-whites then they too would face the longer-term danger of American-style urban unrest, especially from those defined as the black and the brown English (Solomos 2003: 61). Quoting the Roman poet Virgil, he warned ‘As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood” ’ (cited in Heffer 1998: 454).


Public and institutional racism

  • Popular racism + xenophobia; riots, housing & employment, policing, justice system discrimination
  • New Commonwealth immigrants experienced racist discrimination from public, and institutional racism from government bodies. Peter Fryer, 374. Fryer states, for example, that ‘in the late 1950s, more than half the male West Indians in London had lower status jobs than their skill and experience fitted them for’.
  • late 1950s and 1960s

an exponential growth in street-level racism and violence directed against blacks and Asians accompanied by the introduction of racist immigration controls by the state. Virdee, 2016. 99-100.

Anti-immigrant racism at work and in public

  • Major workplaces operated a ‘colour-bar’ jointly enforced by trade unions and employers (Watson 1996: 154).
  • white trade unionists took industrial action to defend the ‘colour bar’. Virdee, Satnam (2016. 102).
  • 1958, anti-immigrant racist riots erupted in Nottingham in the East Midlands and Notting Hill, west London.
  • “We will kill all black bastards. Why don’t you send them home?” (Travis, A. 2002)

    11se Asqith Xavier has been described as a British Rosa Parks. He fought against racistemployment discrimination and won the right to work as a national rail guard in Euston, London, thus defeating the colour bar (in 1966)



Consequences of discrimination Late 1940s-1960s

  • Black and Asian migrant labour and their British-born children suffered sustained discrimination including informal colour bar (Daniel, 1968)
  • relegated to being a racialized fraction of the working class (Phizacklea and Miles 1980; Miles 1982).
  • Development of “race relations paradigm“: excluding coloured immigrants and providing anti-discrimination protection = 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act, 1965/68 Race Relations Acts.
  • ‘integration without control is impossible, but control without integration is impossible’. Roy Hattersley, 1965
  • none of the post-1945 British Immigration Acts employs an explicitly racist discourse; they do not make explicit reference to ‘black’ people and they contain no statement of intent to exclude people defined as a distinct ‘race’ (unlike, for example, the Special Restriction (Coloured Alien Seamen) order of 1925) . Nevertheless, when the political context in which the legislation was passed is examined, we find that a racist ideology was present and that the legislation was introduced in order to realise racist objectives. Robert Miles, 1993, 85

Race Relations Paradigm in sociology

    • Division between theorists who
    • A) see the actions of politicians and bureaucrats as part of a racialising strategy which seeks political legitimation by problematising post-war immigration as a ‘racial’ issue
    • B) those who view the elite liberal politicians of this period as having resisted the popular xenophobia or racism that resulted from ‘inassimilable’ immigration.
    • A) see, for example, Ann Dummett and Michael Dummett, ‘The role of government in Britain’s racial crisis’, in C. Husband, (ed.), ‘Race’ in Britain: Continuity and Change, London, Hutchinson, 1982; Kathleen Paul, (1997) Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizenship in the Postwar Era, Ithica and London, Cornell University Press
    • B) for example, Randall Hansen (2000), Citizenship and Immigration in Post-war Britain, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Legacies of post war racialisation of immigration

  • Race relations paradigm balancing of exclusion against integration relevant to ‘managed migration’ and multicultralism 1990s+
  • Xenophobic racism not limited to skin colour, (originally directed at Jewish immigrants), so cultural
  • Anti-immigration historically linked culture to class (against the poverty of immigrants)
  • Xeno-racism (Sivanandan, 2000) directed against asylum seekers, Islamophobia directed against Islamic immigration
  • immigrationpoliticised : Immigrants stand in for social problems (welfare, housing, jobs)

Postcolonial perspectives on post war immigration racialisation

  • Paul Gilroy observes that post-war British society has demonstrated a post-colonial melancholia, a longing for an imagined pst in which white British subjects were dominant actors ruling over the coloured British Empire. This melancholia fuels xenophobia and racism underlying much of the british discourse and policy towards New Commonwealth immigration. This continues into the present, as the Empire Windrush controversies (aggressive and unacknowledged policy of deporting West Indian immigrants using adminstrative techniques of justification) illustrate.
  • Stuart Hall described New Commonwealth immigration as ‘the return of the repressed’, arguing that it represented a form of resistance to ongoing legacies of colonisation. Hall developed a large body of work within a postcolonial perspective, and did much to propogate key concepts within the literature. Of particular note is the concept of hybridity.
  • More prosaically, migration between and amongst the former metropolis and the colonies is regarded as following postcolonial pathways, a particular form of chain migration, networking and diaspora.
  • Satnam Virdee …
  • Sivanadan pointed to the redeployment of anti-coloured immigration sentiment towards asylum seeker immigrants, coining the term ‘xenoracism’.



Alibah-Brown, Yasmin, Who Do We Think We Are? Imagining the New Britain (London, 2001).

Ê. Balibar and I. Wallerstein (1991), Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, London, Verso Books (1991)

Benedict Anderson, (2016), Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition, London, Verso.

Bloch, A. and L. Schuster. 2002. Asylum and Welfare: contemporary debates. Critical Social Policy. 22(3), pp.393-414.

Bleich, Erik, Race Politics in Britain and France (Cambridge, 2003).

Ann Dummett and Michael Dummett, ‘The role of government in Britain’s racial crisis’, in C. Husband, (ed.), ‘Race’ in Britain: Continuity and Change, London, Hutchinson, 1982

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London, 1984).

Geddes, Andrew, The Politics of Immigration and Race (Manchester, 1996).

Gilroy, Paul, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (London, 1987).

Goulbourne, Harry, Race Relations in Britain since 1945 (Basingstoke, 1998).

Hansen, R. ‘Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and Its Lessons’, Political Quarterly (2003), 74, 1, pp 25–38.

Heffer, S (1998). Like the Roman: the life of Enoch Powell. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Zig Layton-Henry, The Politics of Immigration, ‘Race’ and ‘Race’ Relations in Post-War Britain, Oxford, Blackwells, 1992

Louise London (2001) Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy, Jewish Refugees and the Holocaust,Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,

Tony Kushner, Katherine Knox, (1999) Refugees in an Age of Genocide, London: Frank Cass

Tony Kushner, (2009),Anglo-Jewry Since 1066: Place, Locality and Memory, Manchester, Manchester University Press.

Miles, R. 1982. Racism and Migrant Labour. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul

Miles, Robert, Racism after Race Relations, Routledge, London, 1993

Kathleen Paul, (1997) Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizenship in the Postwar Era, Ithica and London, Cornell University Press

T. H. Marshall (1987), Citizenship and Social Class, London, Pluto Press

Phizacklea, A. and Miles, R. 1980. Labour and Racism. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul

Rosemary Sales (2007) Understanding Immigration and Refugee Policy, Bristol: Policy Press)

Sivanadan, A, Refugees from globalism, CARF 57, August/September, 2000

Solomos, J. 2003. Race and Racism in Contemporary Britain, 3rd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Satnam Virdee (2014) Racism, Class, and the Racialised Outsider, London, Palgrave Macmillan

Non-academic reading

An antidote to the far right’s poison’​ ​– the battle for Cable Street’s mural’, The Guardian, September 21, 2016

Draft. Lecture (autumn semester) Invisibilizing Anglo-liberal violence: Indigenous People and Asylum seekers (Australian case study)

This lecture is about the discourse of settler relations with and recognition of two groups whose differences are incompatible with Anglo-liberalism: Indigenous people and asylum seekers.

Historical legacies: neo-protectionism, ‘recognition’, off-shore solutions.



Unwin. Povinelli, E. (2002) The cunning of recognition: Indigenous alterities and the making of Australian multiculturalism, Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Ray,

Draft. Lecture (autumn semester). The Rise of the Far Right


In today’s lecture we will discuss:

What is the far right? Definitions, examples & Characteristics

How the far right relates to im/mobility. How the far right relates to immigration and settlement, the immobile and mobile precarity of its constituents, the agent mobility of more elite nationals, and the relationships between the three groups and their territorial and social im/mobilities.

Far Right Definitions

Whether due to the complexity of the phenomenon or simply due to its national specificity, the far right has defied a common definition.

Mudde (1996): Twenty six definitions of ‘extreme right’ and 58 different features of ‘extreme right’ ideology’

‘There are as many differences as there are similarities within the extreme right party family’ (Schain et al. 2002).

Far Right in Europe


Socio-economic and democratic crisis in Europe

  • economic grievances – post-2008 financial crash
  • – large scale asylum refugee immigration.
  • Social democrats supported/implemented widespread welfare & investment cuts, supported immigration
  • Political elite perceived as supporting finance/banking
  • Mainstream social democrat parties have lost support from industrial working class and middle-class people
  • The result has been the rise in the popularity of left/green and right wing movements and parties

Left wing:

  • Spain’s Podemos
  • Greece’s Syriza
  • England & Wales Corbyn Labour Momentum
  • Austria, Greens

Extremism in Europe

Normalisation: extremist views becoming mainstream in successful political movements/parties

Parties share two features:

Fierce opposition to immigration and rising ethnic cultural diversity

Their pursuit of a populist ‘anti-establishment’ strategy that attacks mainstream parties and is ambivalent if not hostile to liberal representative democracy(Goodwin, 2011)

The populist right has been emboldened by the vote for Brexit and the success of Donald Trump in the US, while the far-right Freedom party is challenging for the presidency in Austria this weekend and Marine le Pen’s Front National is expecting to do well in French elections next year

Like Marine Le Pen’s Front National, the Freedom party has actively tried to distance itself from its antisemitic past since at least 2010, when it joined a cross-party alliance in the European parliament with Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom and Italy’s Northern League. Contacts with openly antisemitic parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik were broken off, a delegate expelled for antisemitic remarks on her website, and ties built up to Israel’s rightwing Likud party – the Israeli government, however, continues to reject all official contacts with the Freedom party.

Germany’s AfD is not Hungary’s Fidesz. The Finns and the Danish People’s party loathe France’s Front National, and the Netherlands’ PVV is nothing like Poland’s Law and Justice, which bears no resemblance to Austria’s Freedom party. It may be misleading to bracket them all together in the same category.

Anti-Islamism in Netherlands

Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom

Campaigning for de-Islamification” banning all Islamic symbols, mosques and the Koran from the country.

“Europe is exploding. We have terror attacks by jihadists almost every week, almost every day,”

Twice charged with speech incited hatred (against Islam, against the Dutch Morrocan minority) claims he has a right to free speech

Kroet, C. (2016) Geert Wilders tells US he’s set to become next Dutch prime minister

Wilders traveled to the US to show his support for Donald Trump, Politico.eu., 7/20/16

Geert Wilders, the far-right politician who was acquitted five years ago of making anti-Islam remarks, has gone on trial again for allegedly inciting hatred against the Dutch Moroccan minority.

In January, Geert Wilders walked around a fish market in Rotterdam, handing women spray cans that promised to be “Islamic testosterone bombs.” The stunt followed right-wing furor in parts of Europe after migrants and asylum seekers were implicated by media (including social media) in a series of sexual assaults in major cities

Extremism in Greece: Neo-Nazi anti-semitism; anti asylum/refugees

Golden Dawn (7% vote, behind leftwing Syriza, New Democracy (Conservative)

Anti-asylum refugees & anti-austerity

Violent/criminal; accused of murder, armed attacks, money laundering and trafficking

Neo-Nazi & anti-semetic: Leader Nikos Michaloliakos wears swaztika tattoos; praised Hitler

AfG & Pegida in Germany


Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West

Rallies against asylum refugees

Associated with burning of asylum hostels

Pegida leader Bachmann convicted and fined for inciting racial hatred after he called refugees “cattle” and “scum,

1,005 attacks on refugee homes in Germany in 2015 – five times more than in 2014.

Front National in France

  • Nationalist
  • Anti-immigrant
  • Anti-Islam
  • Anti-EU

’Marine le Pen, leader of the Front National, ran as 2017 candidate for Presidency. Party started by Jean Marie le Pen in 1972. Now seeking to overcome history of racism, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism

In national elections, support for Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-euro Front National swung between 11% in 2002 to 4% in 2007 and nearly 14% in 2012. In recent European (24%) and regional (27%) elections it has done far better, but France’s two-round electoral system means it has yet to make a decisive breakthrough. Le Pen reached the run-off in the presidential elections but, like her father in 2002, was defeated.

Context: more than 230 people have been killed in Islamist terror attacks in France since January 2015; mass unemployment and economic stagnation

Anti-asylum in Italy

Matteo Salvini and the 5 Star Movement took government as a coalition in early 2018. Salvini is a far right figure who campaigned against immigration from Africa and the Middle East, and particularly against asylum immigration. since coming to power he has repeatedly blocked humanitarian immigration and won increasing support in Italy (as well as condemnation) for doing so. Salvini justifies his policies in terms of regional burden sharing (arguing that Italy takes an excessive share of “illegal” migrants) and by denigrating immigrants: he claims, for example, that immigrants are responsible for a third of all crimes in Italy. In the wake of Salvini’s campaing and government there has been a rise in violence against immigrants.

Xenophobia in the UK; from the BNP & EDL to UKIP & Brexit

Political Party

British National Party (former leader Nick Griffin), Britain Democratic Party


English Defense League (leader ‘Tommy Robinson’)

South East Alliance, Combat 18, Britain First, Aryan Revolution UK, British Movement, National Action, National Front, Yorkshire Infidels


  • Nationalist
  • Anti-immigrant, Anti-Islamic, Anti-liberal
  • Anti-Semitism (National Front)

The BNP and EDL – have struggled with internal splits and the rise of UKIP

The BNP, lost most of its  58 councillors and two MEPs, has suffered since leader Nick Griffin was ousted and UKIP has drawn their votes on the basis of its anti-immigration & anti-EU stance

‘While Ukip is not the BNP and Farage is not Griffin, it is clear that most former BNP voters feel quite at home in the Ukip stable.’

English far right anti-Islamism

  • A popular post on EDL London Division’s Facebook

‘We asked 100 people what you associated with Islam. The highest score goes to “terrorism” (28); followed by paedophilia (25), then “hate preaching” (20), “unwelcome invaders” (10), “excessive breeders” (7) and goat/ camel fuckers (5).’ 136 people ticked ‘like’   (Pai, H 2016, 203-4).

Britain is “at war …I don’t think moderate Muslims exist. The jihadis are killing in the name of Islam, … They have no reason to be in this country whatsoever. They are vermin.’ Prodromou, leader, South East Alliance (Channel 4, 2015)

Our country will turn into Englandstan soon and I don’t want that at all.’ EDL member, (Pai, H. 2016, 203)

English Far right hate crimes & terrorism

Anti-Muslim hate monitoring group Tell MAMA reports 326 per cent increase in incidents in 2015, fueled by terrorist incidents; 61 per cent of victims in the cases it recorded involved women and of those, 75 per cent were clearly identifiable as Muslim, for example due to their headscarves or veils.

Recent study by the Royal United Services Institute accused western governments of neglecting the threat of far-right lone actor terrorists, with almost a third in Europe since 2000 having been motivated by extreme-right-wing beliefs, compared with 38% inspired by religion.

MP Jo Cox, advocate of support for immigrants, murdered by lone extremist Thomas Mair (Batley, 2016)

  • Influenced by far right information online, including Nazi texts
  • Acted in climate of heightened Islamophobia, anti-immigration and rising hate crime
  • Claimed to be acting out of patriotism, defending England from pro-immigration politics

English far right online

  • Strong use of social media: Britain First has more than 1.4m Facebook likes, greater than any other UK political party (Townsend, M, 2016)
  • Far-right groups gained a significant number of followers from the murder of Jo Cox MP and the Brexit campaign. Britain First’s Twitter followership increased by over 700 in the 5 days following Jo Cox’s murder.
  • Far right groups were talked about in a more positive way online following both the murder of Jo Cox and the EU referendum result.
  • 50,000 positive social media comments after the murder  of MP Jo Cox (and also widely condemned)

Smith, M, Colliver, C (2016)

Redwatch forum for far-right, targeting left-wing, pro-immigrant support

Rise of the Alt-Right in the U.S.

  • Alt Right is short for “alternative right.”
  • Alt-right encompasses a range of people on the extreme right who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of implicit or explicit racism or white supremacy.
  • Alt Righters reject egalitarianism, democracy, universalism and multiculturalism.
  • anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Islamism
  • Anti-feminist
  • Resonates with Trump’s presidential campaign where he repeatedly insulted Muslims, Jews, immigrants (including Mexians) and women, and his cabinet’s opposition to LGBT rights
  • Steve Bannon, Alt-Right spokesperson, now advisor to president Trump
  • Richard Spencer white supremicist
  • Milo Yiannopoulos (social media celebrity)
  • Gained popularity via social media (incl. Brietbart, Twitter, subreddits, forums like 8Chan)

Far Right Characteristics


if there is a single characteristic all far right parties share, it is nationalism (Ellinas, 2007)

  • Extreme right parties emphasise law and order, and want more resources to the police
  • Cultural political identity: ‘a sense of belonging to a human community with which one shares some values, history, cultural references or heritage’ (Harrison & Bruter 2011: 39), excludes those seen as essentially different (‘foreigners’).
  • Internal homogenisation (“aliens” should be expelled or assimilated) (Mudde 2000)


(Greek) fear of strangers

  • The “strangers” may or may not be ethnic groups – could also be sexuality, religion, class
  • Regional and local rivalries can contain elements of xenophobia (e.g. Europe)
  • Target is usually immigrants

Xenophobia in the context of post-racism

  • Post WWII racism unacceptable in public political discourse
  • When you open the English Defense League Facebook page, the first line you see is ‘No racism, no violence’.


  • What effect has post-racism had on far right anti-immigrant; anti-Islamic groups?
  • Extremism going underground? Or being adopted by the mainstream?


  • Contrast between the ‘real people’ and the parasitic elites
  • Reclaim power for the people from the bureaucratic elite (UK state and EU)
  • Believe that the elite’s political correctness used to silence opposition
  • Media (seen as unified, hostile + controlled by powerful)
  • Economic elite (banks, austerity etc.)

‘The ruling liberals are out of touch with public opinion. They just don’t understand what normal people think especially the middle and lower class’ (BNP member)

Pro-capitalist or welfare chauvinist

  • Kitschelt (1995) argued that a right-wing, pro-capitalist outlook is a key ingredient in the extreme right’s “winning formula” (right-wing economics together with anti-immigration)
  • However, since the late 1990s, a more positive (less negative) view on the welfare state is more common. More welfare to ‘own’ people (Mudde).

Anti democracy?

  • Procedural definition of democracy: Anti-democracy: advocacy of dictatorship, restrictions on the right to vote, etc.
  • Substantive definition of democracy: Anti-democracy: advocacy of restrictions in human rights and liberties (e.g. death penalty, European Court of Human Rights)


  • Strong leader: ‘Le Pen is someone exceptional. The first time I met him, I was shivering for hours afterwards’ (Front National member)

Insecure masculinity “Angry white men”

Violence is socio-structurally generated and individually psychologically justified

  • feelings of disadvantage and marginalization prompt resentment and anger in young males who feel their voices are not being heard. This disenchantment manifests itself through resentment and hostility directed at the scapegoat for their ills: the Islamic ‘other’.
  • Young men turn experiences of acute inequality and disenchantment into inner psychological scripts that justify their own ‘heroic’ status when involved in violent confrontation. (Treadwell & Garland, 2011)


Recent studies/explanations:

post industrialism and ‘globalisation’: changed structure of capitalist economies hurt particular segments of society. Most vulnerable social groups are thought to be the ones most likely to be swayed by far right appeals.

Repeated survey evidence suggested that far right voters are young, usually over represented among blue collar workers and small business owners.

Men are over represented in the far right vote, while women are under represented

Globalised uncertainty and insecurity contributes to calls for collective identification, self-defence, self-reassurance, leading to Far right voting (Ignazi, P , 2003: 210-2)

Michael Samers (1999) described populist xenophobic politics as providing a spatial vent. Populist politicians channel anxieties about the pressures of ‘globalization’ like under and unemployment into a form that blames the immigrant for their woes.

The term populism is prejudicial?

Populist politics is used to refer to discriminatory views, like anti-immigrant views, or supposedly unreasonable views, like protectionism or socialism. Is the term really just a way of saying popular views that ‘we’ don’t like? If so, who is the ‘we’ that used the term, and what are their investments? Is the term anti-democratic and elitist? Does it resonate with earlier patrician views denigrating ‘the rule of the mob’?

The Far Right and im/mobilities.

Far right politics seems to be embedded in the experience of sustained and inescapable precarity in the context of an inequality of mobilities. In England, for example, the experience of precarity includes resentment at de-industrialisation and financialisation, the privileging of London as a world/’global;’ city occuring in tandem with the marginalisation of former industrial strongholds, like West Yorkshire (see Townsend, 2016). Pressure on the welfare estate and working conditions in marginalised areas is viewed through a spatial vent (Samer, 1999) in which metropolitan elites are held responsible for unfair competition: the territorial and social mobility of immigrant groups is seen as being granted at the expense of the social mobility of local residents. The socio-economic and political capital and mobility of metropolitan professionals, tied in part to weakly regulated finance and trade, is also seen as being gained at the expense of a loss of agency over mobility among the precariat. This includes a loss of (upwards) social mobility, but also coerced displacement (for example, the need to move further from central areas like inner London, as well as well-performing rural cities and towns) because precarious wages are insufficient, and benefit conditions disallow housing in advantageous areas. Correspondingly, it is the most marginalised areas that typically receive the greatest number of immigrants requiring support (such as asylum seekers).

In these contexts liberal multiculturalism and support for immigration is viewed as a form of elite discrimination against those belonging to the precariat. Far right populists often appeal via cultural racism and xenophobia, but seek to do so in liberal (post-racist) forms that distinguish between a deserving (hardworking, liberal, Christian) national community and a forms undeserving illiberal other. This line of argument is directed at the liberal multicultural mainstream who are portrayed as unfairly (or treasonously) privileging the interests of dangerous others over the nation’s own deserving poor behind a rhetoric of anti-racism that disguises elite self-interest (both economic and symbolic/identitive).


Anderson, J. G. & Bjorklund, T. (2000) ‘Radical right-wing populism in Scandinavia: from tax revolt to neo-liberalism and xenophobia’ in Hainsworth, P. (ed.) The Politics of the

Extreme Right: from the margins to the mainstream. London: Pinter, 193-223.

Boomgaarden, Hajo G. and Rens Vliegenthart. (2007). ‘Explaining the Rise of Anti-Immigrant Parties: The Role of News Media Content.’ Electoral Studies 26(2): 404-417.

Davies, P. with Jackson, P. The Far Right in Europe: An Encyclopedia. Oxford: Greenswood World Publishing.

Goodwin, X (2011) ‘Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe’

Hale-Williams, M. (2010) ‘Can Leopards change their spots?: Between xenophobia and trans-ethnic populism among West European Far Right Parties, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 16(1), 111-134.

Harrison, S. and Bruter, M. Mapping Extreme Right Ideology: an empirical geography of the European extreme right. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Hewitt, R. (2005) White Backlash and the Politics of Multiculturalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ignazi, P (2003) Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Lemos, G. (2005) The Search for Tolerance: Challenging and changing racist attitudes and behaviour amongst young people, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation,


Mammone, A. Godin, E. and Jenkins, B. (2012) Mapping the Extreme Right in Contemporary Europe: from local to transnational. London: Routledge

Mudde, C. (1995) ‘Right-wing extremism analyzed: A comparative analysis of the ideologies of three alleged right-wing extremist parties( NPD, NDP. CP’86)’, European Journal of Political Research, 27, 203-224.

Mudde, C. (1996) ‘The War of Words Defining the Extreme Right Party Family’, West European Politics 19(2), 225-248.

Pai, H. (2016), Angry White People: Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right, London, Zed Books.

Roxburgh, A. (2002) Preachers of hate: the rise of the far right. London: Gibson Square.

Runnymede Trust (1997) Islamophobia, a challenge for us all. London: Runnymede

Rhodes, J. (2009) “‘The Banal National Party: the routine nature of legitimacy’.” Patterns of Prejudice 43, no. 2: 142-160.

Rhodes, J. (2011) ‘It’s Not Just Them, It’s Whites as Well’: Whiteness, Class and BNP Support, Sociology, 45(1): 102-117.

Samers, M. (1999)“‘Globalization’ the geo-political economy of migration, and the‘spatial vent’”,Review of International Political Economy,6, 2: 163-196.

Schaine et al. (2002) Shadows over Europe: The Development and Impact of the Extreme Right in Western Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Svasand, L. (2003) ‘Scandinavian Right-Wing Radicalism’ in Betz, H. G. and Immerfall, S. (eds) The New Politics of the Right.

Smith, M, Colliver, C (2016) The impact of Brexit on far-right groups in Britain, London, Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Sprague-Jones, J. (2011) Extreme right-wing vote and support for multiculturalism in Europe, Ethnic and Racial Studies 34(4): 535-555.

Treadwell, J. and Garland, J. (2011) Masculinity, Marginalization and Violence: A Case Study of the English Defense League, British Journal of Criminology, 51(4): 621-634.

Yilmaz, F. (2012) Right-wing hegemony and immigration: How the populist far-right achieved hegemony through the immigration debate in Europe, Current Sociology, 60(3) 368-381.

Non academic reading and viewing

Townsend, M (2016) Why has the far right made West Yorkshire a home?, The Observer, 18 June

Channel 4 (2015) Angry, White, and Proud, online, http://www.channel4.com/programmes/angry-white-and-proud

Draft. Lecture (autumn semester). The US and the tired huddled masses

American Protectionism

  • American representations of identity/Imagined Community
  • Migration
  • Terrorism
  • Islam
  • Globalisation and Protectionism
  • Group discussion

The popular idea of America:
the ‘Land of the Free

‘Land of the Free’ a refrain from the US national anthem (Start Spangled Banner)

Immigration and emancipation (freeing the slaves) part of the founding myth of America

  • 1863: proclamation made Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, Abraham Lincoln gave thanks to God for having “largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration.“
  • New Colossus, by Emily Lazarus, 1883

    Give me your tired, your poor,

    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Imagined community: US as a land of freedom, a nation of immigrants

Ideas about the nation are socially constructed

  • Anderson: Imagined Community, the narratives and forms of communication that work to construct a shared sense of national community
  • Statue of Liberty & Lazurus poem, Lincoln’s speech different kinds of representation that help to construct a way of imagining the US national community


Migration to the US: industrialisation, urbanisation

18th-19th century

  • Industrial Revolution.
  • British Isles late 18th C+
  • Low Countries & Germany early-mid 19th C
  • Eastern and southern Europe late 19th – early 20th C centuries
  • Each revolution produced waves of migration to US of unemployed

20th-21st century globalisation, new industrial revolutions

  • Mexico (massive rural to urban migration in Mexico),
  • Also, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, India, and the Dominican Republic
  • Each revolution produced waves of migration to US of economic, including unemployed


Migration to US (2014)

  • US population = 264,000,000
  • 1.3 million foreign-born individuals legally moved to US:
  • Indian migrants 147,500 ,
  • Chinese 131,800,
  • Mexican 130,000 (but many more undocumented),
  • Canadian 41,200,
  • Philippines, 40,500.

Undocumented migrants in US

Total undocumented population 2010-2014

  • 11,009,000

States with highest numbers

  • California 3,019,000
  • Texas 1,470,000
  • New York 850,000
  • Approx. half of the undocumented migrants in the US from Mexico; between 5-6,000,000

(Kennedy, 2010, 83)

  • Total Mexican immigrants resident in US approx .11,700,000

(MPI, 2016)


America accepted 84,995 refugees in 2015-16.

  • between 1990 and 1995average 112,000 refugees
  • Much more than 2002, when fewer than 27,000 refugees were admitted following the September 11 terrorist attacks
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo contributed (the highest number of refugees last year at 16,370. Syria was second, with 12,587 refugees from the war-torn nation entering the U.S., followed by Burma, Iraq and Somalia

Muslim citizens and refugees

  • Muslims make up just one percent of the U.S. population.
  • During 2016, Muslims outnumbered Christians among refugees for the first time since 2006.

Muslim 46% Christian 44% refugees

(Pew Research Center,  2016)


  • The typical American overestimates the proportion of Muslims by 17:1
  • Only 41 percent of registered voters said that the U.S. should feel an obligation to take in Syrian refugees PBS, 2016

Trump, migration, protectionism

Trump and Mexican migration

Trump committed to building a wall between Mexico and the US

He committed to deporting undocumented migrants (to sending them back to Mexico and elsewhere)

He committed to removing birthright citizenship (where the children of migrants resident in the US are granted citizenship)

“When Mexico sends it people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” (Trump, 2016).

Crowds at his political rallies chanted “build the wall”

Trump, Muslim, and Refugee Migration

Before the election Trump said there should be a complete ban on Muslim immigration

  • Trump issues an 90 day ban on migrants from Muslim Majority Countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen (Jan, 2017)
  • Trump stated he preferred the US should take Christian refugees
  • However, US courts judged that the ban is not legal (religious discrimination)
  • Trump issues a new ban on migrants from Muslim Majority Countries, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen (not Iraq)
  • Unlike the first ban, people with visas and green cards exempted, refugees from the banned countries must be treated the same as other refugees; there can be no preference for Christian refugees

Trump, Terrorism, Muslims

  • Migrants from the banned countries not those involved in fatal terrorism in the US (i.e., 9/11 terrorists from UAE, Saudi Arabia)
  • US Dept. Homeland Security advised the ban not effective for preventing terrorism
  • Many US terrorist acts conducted by US citizens: ie., Dylan Roof killed 9 African Americans at church service
  • Obama famously observed that more people drown in their own bathwater per year than from terrorism in the US


Social immobility: American industry, unemployment

Relocating jobs

Since the 1980s, many companies sourced labour in the countries experiencing the new industrial revolution, like China, India …

Often the same areas producing migration to the US

  • This has given rise to high unemployment in former industrial areas like Detroit, where the car industry failed
  • Many of those badly affected are white working class people who formerly had stable jobs and incomes

US Unemployment: who/what is to blame?

  • Trump blames undocumented (Mexican) immigrants for “the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one”.

Terrorism: who/what is to blame?

  • American openness to migration (allowing dangerous Muslims & refugees into US)

Poor economy:

  • Globalised free trade arrangements that fail to protect American industry/workers

Trump’s Protectionism: “Making America Great Again

  • Protecting America from external threats:

Undocumented, Mexican, Muslim, refugee migrants, terrorists

  • Changing trade deals and tariffs to make foreign products more expensive in the US, to protect US industry



Cobb, C. and Stuek, S. eds., (2005) Globalization and the American South, Athens, University of Georgia Press (Ch. 1)

Wacquant, L. (2009), Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity, Durham & London, Duke University Press (Ch. 2)

Wacquant, L. (2008), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Cambridge, Polity Press (Ch. 8)

Schueller, M.J. (2009) Locating Race: Global Sites of Post-Colonial Citizenship, Albany, State University of New York.

Bourguignon, F (2015) The Globalization of Inequality, New Jersey, Princeton University Press (Ch. 2).

Desmond, M. (2016) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, London, Penguin.

Peterson, R.D. and Krivo, L.J. (2010) Divergent Worlds: Neighbourhood Crime and the Spatial-Racial Divide, New York, Russell Sage Foundation, (Ch. 2).

Kalleberg, A. (2011) Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: The Rise of Polarized and Precarious Employment Systems in the United States, 1970s-2000s, New York, Russell Sage Foundation.

Sassen, S. (2013) ‘Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy’, (Ch. 1) Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, UK, Belknap Press, Harvard University.

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