Representing, Resisting and Reproducing Ethnic Nationalism: Official UK Labour Party accounts of ‘multicultural Britain’ Susan Condor Department of Psychology, University of Lancaster, UK. Talk summary. Discourse designed to resist ethnic nationalism:
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Representing, Resisting and Reproducing Ethnic Nationalism:Official UK Labour Party accounts of ‘multicultural Britain’Susan CondorDepartment of Psychology,University of Lancaster,UK
Two political speeches on ‘multi-cultural Britain’
The first point I would like to get across is that Britain is without doubt a multicultural society. This strikes you as soon as you arrive in the UK.
Switch on the television and you will see ethnic minority newsreaders, political commentators and writers; comedians, soap opera stars and opera singers; fashion designers and models, footballers and dancers. British culture is a hybrid, born of the talents creativity and styles of many different groups – White, Black, Asian and other minorities. The result is a unique proof of how diversity enriches our society and our lives.
Webelieve that one of the greatest responsibilities we have is to try to make Britain a fairer place; a place where people of every race and religion feel themselves to be an equal part of the whole.
A society which makes a celebration out of the fact that we are multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-racial; one which not just assimilates people but celebrates people’s differences.”
Economic and military imperative:
We should welcome [ethnic] pluralism as a unique asset for Britain in a modern world where our prosperity, our security and our influence depend on the health of our relations with other peoples around the globe.
Temporal: contemporary, ‘a modern version of national identity’
‘narrow minded nationalism’ (anti-EU)
Temporal: anachronistic / Imperial
“[Britain] has always been a nation of island people from diverse origins - by 1066, when we were invaded for the last time by the Normans, we had already been subject to invasion and settlement by the Romans, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Vikings, and Norse. Immigrants arrived in significant numbers from Europe during the late 19th century. The first group of Jamaicans arrived in 1948 and were followed by tens of thousands more, from the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The 70s and 80s also saw the arrival of the Hong Kong Chinese and refugees from Vietnam.”
The existence of ethnic diversity within a state requires explanation
Presupposes that nations are originally culturally homogenous.
Presupposes that diversity can only arise from transnational migration
”In the pre-industrial era Britain was unusually open to external influence. It is not their purity that makes the British unique, but the sheer pluralism of their ancestry.”
“Our diversity is one of the reasons why Britain continues to be the preferred location for multinational companies setting up in Europe. The national airline of a major European country has recently relocated its booking operation to London precisely because of the linguistic variety of the staff whom it can recruit here. Today’s London is a perfect hub of the globe. It is home to over 30 ethnic communities of at least 10,000 residents each. In this city tonight, over 300 languages will be spoken by families over their evening meal at home. This pluralism is an immense asset that contributes to the cultural and economic vitality of our nation.”
Social representations create a ‘reassuring impression of something we have “seen before” and “known before”’
(Dixon, The Englishman, 1938)
How the Empire Grew