• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
  16. 16

Have (or how have) representations of the ethnic or national 'other' changed in post-war Britain?

Extracts from this document...


Have (or how have) representations of the ethnic or national 'other' changed in post-war Britain? In order to address this question we must firstly define what is meant by the 'other', migrants often labeled under the umbrella term Blacks. For the purpose of this essay it will refer to mainly Asian and Muslim ethnic communities. We will explore various discourses concerned with identity and subjectivity with particular attention being offered to issues of gender, religion and migration. The implications of the Rushdie affair and the September 11th atrocities will also be highlighted. Attention will be given to Enoch Powell's 1968 'Rivers of Blood' speech and comparisons made with the proposals suggested by current Home Secretary, David Blunkett in the government's 2002 white paper entitled 'Secure Borders, Safe Haven'. These two examples will be used to analyse whether or not the discourses surrounding 'otherness' have in fact changed. Essentialist and anti-essentialist approaches will be compared. It will extend to illustrate examples of these discourses through visual as well as written texts and through media representation. The key elements of Blunkett's proposals contain issues of legal migrants, asylum, citizenship, marriage/family and border controls. (Travis, 2002, p.1) Therefore, an appropriate point from which to begin will be to firstly consider Sarup who adopts an essentialist approach when he discusses the meanings of home, borders and boundaries in relation to constructions of identity and the migrant experience. He suggests that migrants are often subjected to a plethora of opposing reactions, from hospitality to hostility, inclusion to exclusion. In order to protect themselves, minority groups seek strength from their religion, language and culture thus uniting and confirming their collective identity. (Sarup, 1996, p.3) For example, Islam is for many British Muslims a fundamental part of their cultural identity. This is evident today, as Islam is currently the most followed faith other than Christianity. (Bunting, 2001, p.23) In East is East, George takes his religion very seriously, 'you're only really going to be safe if you stay within the cultural fold - if you leave it - you'll be subject to racism.' ...read more.


He emphasises the importance of cultural racism in indirect discrimination. For example, every community has its own dress codes and customs in the workplace and educational institutions and religious practices such as attending church on Sundays, yet in the West, Muslims are expected to work on weekdays despite Fridays being their day of worship. Hence, hegemony will reside with the dominant group, in Britain's case, Christians. (Modood, p.167) Parekh's study illustrates that 'respect for religious diversity imposes severe limits on the demand for cultural assimilation.' (Parekh, 1982, p.15). In other words, Parekh argues that as religion is the fundamental principle of many cultures it is insincere to recognise diversity of religions yet still insist upon cultural assimilation. Modood supports this view, he concludes that the Rushdie affair is predominantly about the rights of non-white, non western religious and cultural ethnies in the context of a secular hegemonic society. (Modood, p.274) Modood highlights how the controversial publication of The Satanic Verses, with its bad language and explicit sexual imagery was considered a profane attack upon Muslims as well as evoking much misunderstanding by the West about Muslims in Britain. Yet both he and Parekh suggest that Rushdie had not intended it as an 'intellectual critique of their faith. ' (Modood, p.269) Cohen and Waldron reinforce Rushdie's claim that the book 'celebrates hybridity, impurity, intermingling.' (Grillo, 1998, p.232) However, Modood believes that the Rushdie Affair might actually encourage some Asian Muslim youths to 'return to the mosques and religious classes.' (Modood, p.271) In other words, to become fundamentalists as a reaction to The Satanic Verses. It is therefore necessary to consider the ambiguous life of an immigrant which according to Parekh, often lacks 'roots ... depth and richness,' (Hall S, 1992, p.323) in order to fully recognise the importance of their religion in the construction of their identity. He goes on to point out that 'their dignity as human beings is constantly mocked by the hostile "host" society; their sacred family ties are brutally snapped by evil immigration laws; their children ... ...read more.


Furthermore, Butler and Manzoor argue that many British Muslim women now choose to wear traditional dress again in order to reassert their identity. Thus, this is part of their culture that they willingly wish to retain. (Manzoor, p.56 & Butler, p.19) Solomos and Back consider the changing discourse regarding the black presence in Britain. Their argument suggests that it has shifted in very particular ways since the second world war, from fear of miscegenation, where mixed race children were often referred to as a 'casualty of war' (Solomos & Back, 1996, p.180) to the image of the 'black mugger' representing racial crime in 1970s. Black crime shifted from against the individual to crimes against society. Peter Hulme refers to 'stereotypical dualism' where ethnic minorities were considered either as the criminals causing these social problems or as victims of racism. (Solomos & Back, p.183) These notions can be seen in Sapphire, where the underlying fear of miscegenation as a consequence of Sapphire's pregnancy, felt by David's white middle class family had resulted in her murder. Also, Johnny being represented as a pimp and a criminal. A further example is evident in Bhaji on the Beach, caused by Hashida's pregnancy with her secret West Indian' boyfriend, Oliver. Anxiety arises at the possibility of producing a child, which is non-identifiable as either black or white. Oliver would only have been accepted if he had been Asian. In the same film, Ginda's husband is shown as a violent wife beater, which introduces a criminal element into the narrative. If we compare Sapphire (1959) and My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) to more recent film productions such as Bhaji on the Beach (1993) and East is East (1999), it is evident that representations of the 'other' and the way stories are told have changed in the discourse of film and cinema over time. Underlying themes of race and prejudice run through these films. Sapphire adopts a modernist approach, which responds to the ethnic tensions, which were erupting in Britain in the late 1950s. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Mateship has long been a major aspect of the national image as projected by ...

    Mates are exclusively men; women are the outsiders, unable to understand men or be understood by men (a video clip from interviews in Beyond Mateship from Lateline TV programme shows an example). Even though the scarcity of females no longer exists and women have contributed immensely in the country, this stereotype is still very much prevalent in the society.

  2. Compare and contrast the portrayal of Indian marriages in the stories 'The Old Woman' ...

    The mothers-in-law would control the entire household, showing how, in Indian society, although the man may be the head of the house, the woman is the neck, and can turn the head anywhere she wants. The younger daughters-in-law of the household in "The Old Woman" all fear their mothers-in-law and

  1. Is George Murdock's 'Nuclear Family' still, the norm in British society?

    "I purpose that there is no such thing as 'normal families' [the nuclear family]. " * Talcott Parsons (1955) in the book Family socialisation and Interaction Process "the changes that have taken place in the family and the nature of the modern family are related to the impact of the process of industrialisation" * Mike Featherstone (1991)

  2. Crime - 'The media portrays ethnic minorities in negative ways', Discuss.

    The reason for discrimination against ethnic minorities is that ethnic minorities may not be educated that much to get a job, and not having a job means no source of income, so some may turn to crime (but not all), and when the media come to know about this they

  1. What Impact did the War Have on the Role of Women in British Society ...

    Therefore the number of munitions factories increased resulting in the number of jobs available increasing and so leading to an increase in the number of women working in them - the munitions industry employed 947 000 women representing 90% of its workforce.

  2. It is argued that subcultures define themselves in opposition to the dominant culture. ...

    "Youth today are more technology oriented, technology driven. As a result, what used to be a huge division between urban and suburban no longer exists," comments Potee. "The experience of the kids in the suburbs is, at times, not so different from the kids in the city."

  1. Media, leisure & fashion - Britain in the 1930's.

    Admission was only a few pence and so was affordable for many. People followed the screen stars in fashion and lifestyle and despite the British government's efforts, through the 1927 Cinematograph Act, the most popular films were from Hollywood. These advertised an outdoor lifestyle, where sport and leisure were very important.

  2. Sociology: Arranged Marriage Coursework

    Children were more disciplined too. Nowadays, everyone has the freedom of speech and forced marriage is illegal. In places like Asia, arranged marriages are very popular. This may be because it is seen as a norm which was carried by generations of people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work