9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Contemporary Patterns of Racism and Antisemitism Building II, C5.09

Beyond the new racism: the reconfiguration of whiteness in 21st century Britain

In this paper, I will argue that UK in the last decade, and particularly since the accession of the A8 states to the EU, has faced a crisis of whiteness, which has resulted in a shift in the nature of racist mobilisation in the UK. The elements of this crisis, I will argue, are: the emergence of "xeno-racism" - the racialisation of foreigners as such, regardless of physical "race" or culture, so that "racially" white Europeans are the targets of racism; the conditional or contingent inclusion of formerly non-white Britons, particularly those of British Commonwealth origin; the intensification of racism against Gyspy/Traveller people; and the racialisation of sections of the white working class through discourses around figures such as the "pikey" and "chav". These shifts have been reflected in the changing public politics of the main far right party in the UK, the BNP. Finally, the paper will suggest that Jews occupy an ambivalent position in relation to this reconfiguration of whiteness.