• 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. Sociology: Arranged Marriage Coursework

    to break up, or they feel that their love has 'died away'. Views like these show how independent people are getting and how arranged marriages could be slowly 'fading'. Analysis My questionnaire included questions which resulted with both qualitative and quantitative data.

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

    economics: it was based on the exchange of property" The Change in women roles * Wilmott & Young (1975) "Husband now do their fair share of the domestic chores" * Gittens (1993) "Traditionally a man's place was at work, however it is slowly becoming more acceptable for men to be house husbands..."

  1. A Review of the Article "How Have Families Changed" by Diane Gittins.

    Stone argued that there were three main different types of families in Western society between 1500 and 1800, namely the 'Open Lineage Family', which was considered to be common from the medieval times until the early sixteenth century and which was characterised by lack of privacy, extended kin ties and lack of close relationships within family.

  2. Masculinity and Asian gangs

    Connell argues that this approach to defining masculinity has been very effective in cultural analysis he also adds that, it escapes the arbitrariness of the essentialism and the paradoxes of the positivist and normative definition. Gender and social practises The definition of masculinity is quite hard to pin down on

  1. Social Exclusion

    I will need to be aware of the need for ethnically sensitive practice, and to challenge racism on an individual, and institutional level. I must be prepared to challenge other forms of discriminations based on gender, religion, sexual preferences and many more.

  2. Active Citizenship

    At the beginning, my tennis was not that good, but after a few months of playing, my tennis has improved. I thoroughly enjoyed taking out those activities, it provided me with an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of personal developments, which has improved my character, given me more self-confidence, and given me a sense of responsibility.

  1. Sexism is a form of prejudice.

    Two other characters Robbie and Kerry, Kerry is taking Robbie for a ride saying that she fancies him; Robbie believes everything she says because he wants her for sex. Barry and Roy are opening a taxi firm. They have hired drivers but they are all men.

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

    The radio had an important impact on many areas of society. For example, it meant that songs, such as by band leaders Henry Hall and Lew Stone, became widely known and so dance halls became more popular. It also helped maintain interest in football and cricket such as the World Cup.

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