This chapter focuses explicitly on parents’ discussions of ethnic diversity.
These are put in the context of policies around multiculturalism and
integration in which schools have been a key policy site. Parents were more
likely to consider diversity as something related to race or ethnicity
rather than class. The chapter contends that we lack a differentiated
vocabulary for discussing diversity and ‘mix’. Furthermore, there are
distinct discourses around ethnic diversity circulating in the different
areas, with parents in the area with the least ethnic diversity, in
particular, expressing reservations and fears about increasing diversity.
Parents of BME children have a particular stake in seeking out schools with
an ethnic mix as they see those schools as potentially offering their
children security against the racism and racialised othering which they
might face in more white schools (and which the parents themselves may have
experienced in their own schooling in Britain). Thus the book argues that it
is critical that we consider questions of both class and race when
understanding parents’ views about school choice, but that we should also be
attentive to ways in which ideas and imaginations of place frame parents
approaches to schooling and education.
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.