British racial discourse: a study of political discourse about race and race-related matters at parliamentary and borough council levels

  • Francis W. Reeves

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    'British Racial Discourse' is a study of political discourse about race and race-related matters. The explanatory theory is adapted from current sociological studies of ideology with a heavy emphasis on the tradition developed from Marx and Engels's Feuerbach. The empirical data is drawn from the parliamentary debates on immigration and the Race Relations Bills, Conservative and Labour Party Conference Reports, and a set of interviews with
    Wolverhampton Borough councillors. Although the thesis has broader significance for British political discourse about race, it is particularly concerned with the responses of members of the two main political parties, rather than with the more overt and sensational racism of certain extreme Right-wing groups. Indeed, as the study progresses, it focuses more and more narrowly on the phenomenon of 'deracialised' discourse, and the details of the predominantly class-based justificatory systems of the Conservative and Labour Parties. Of particular interest are the argument forms (used in the debates on immigration and race relations) which manage to obscure the white electorate's responsibility for prejudice and discrimination. Such discoursive forms are of major significance for understanding British race relations, and their detailed examination provides an insight into the way in which 'ideological facades' are created and maintained.
    Date of AwardFeb 1981
    Original languageEnglish


    • racial discourse
    • racism
    • deracialisation
    • borough council

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