Chapter 2 sets the scene of the three different areas in Greater Manchester
of the study. It describes the areas which have distinct demographic makeup
and also different profiles in terms of reputation and, as we explore,
residential mobility. It also describes the methodology of the study. One of
the distinctive features of this book on school choice is the located nature
of the study. Interviewees talk about places and schools which we have
reliable knowledge of, including the demographic makeup of the schools. This
enables us to understand how those places are imagined and lived in and how
the schools are understood in the broader ‘tactics’ (De Certeau 1984) of
living in places. The chapter shows that, when parents talked about the
areas in which they lived, issues of race and class were dealt with quite
differently in the three areas, suggesting different discourses that
circulated about these social categories in the contrasting locations. The
chapter also shows the varied ways in which ‘elective belonging’ (Savage et
al. 2005) can work.
This chapter critically evaluates characterisations of the EDL as ‘Islamophobic’. It outlines debates about how we might define and measure ‘Islamophobia’, focusing on the question of whether Islamophobia is a new, and distinct, phenomenon or consists primarily in anti-Muslim attitudes, which are adequately understood within the existing notion of cultural racism. It provides a detailed exploration of the nature and content of perceptions of, and attitudes towards, Islam among EDL activists and shows how Islam is singled out as a ‘problem’ in a way that other aspects of multicultural society are not. In order to sustain claims to non-racism, therefore, a strategic distinction between Islam and Muslims is drawn; the object of hostility, it is claimed, is Islamic doctrine or teachings not its followers as individuals or racialised groups. However, being anti-Islam does not exclude being anti-Muslim also. Drawing on observational evidence as well as interviews, the chapter demonstrates considerable slippage in distinctions between Islam and Muslims as the object of hostility as well as, especially in the context of demonstrations, the use of generalised terms of abuse towards Muslims.
This chapter discusses the emotional and affective dimensions of EDL activism by exploring the pleasures of the ‘demo buzz’ and the ontological security generated by relationships formed in the EDL ‘family’. It outlines theoretical debates on emotion and affect in social movements and adopts the notion of ‘affective practice’ to understand and explore the role of emotion in EDL activism. It shows how street demonstrations are experienced by respondents as not only a place for achievement of the rational goal of ‘getting your message across’ but also, emotionally, as ‘a good day out’ with its associated pleasures (including, for some, violence and ‘disorder’). The forms and means by which the emotional collective is formed within the EDL (the use of symbols, colours, chanting and other performative acts) is discussed and arguments that these emotions are instrumentally orchestrated from above are refuted. Finally, the chapter considers the ‘reciprocal emotions’ - close, affective ties of friendship, love, solidarity, and loyalty - generated within social movements. These emotions – expressed through respondents’ understanding of the EDL as ‘one big family’ - arise out of, and enhance, the pleasures of shared activism but can work to undermine as well as strengthen group bonds.