The anti-racist state: an investigation into the relationship between representations of 'racism', anti-racist typification and the state : a 'Scottish' case study.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This study constitutes the first socio-historical reconstruction of Scotland-based anti-racist formation, spanning the post-WW” period to the present day. Historical in that a chronological map of anti-racist mobilisation is reconstructed; sociological in that anti-racist formation is analytically founded with the purpose of subjecting conceptualisations of ‘racism as a social problem’ to historical scrutiny by tracing its increasing public profile across time. This thesis is concerned with the making of the meaning of ‘racism as a social problem’, an understanding of which is framed by the interplay between anti-racist formation and the policy agenda of the British state. This interplay is contextualised and scrutinised specifically in Scotland, such that the state’s role in defining racism as a social problem is subject to critique. Focus is on the perceived role of ‘race’ and migration as social conflict variables, and state institutions as agents of legitimation, incorporation and regulation.
Scotland provides a robust geo-political framework for analysis in that there is explicit recognition that the problem of racism in Scotland has been neglected historically. We have moved from a social policy context in which racism was not given sufficient attention by the Scottish arm of the British state, to a newly devolved institutional set-up which has allowed a significant place to the social problem of racism as specifically a ‘Scottish problem’. The newly devolved Scottish polity’s commissioned anti-racist media campaign – One Scotland, Many Cultures – provides an explicit statement of what the state means when it declares itself-anti-racist, how its agenda informs the signification of ‘racism’, and consequently how ‘racism’ is typified as a social problem requiring state intervention.
This study explores ‘problem definition’ with the use of multiple methods of enquiry, including: archival recovery; elite interview; policy analysis; event analysis; media analysis; visual analysis; and audio analysis.
Media analysis incorporates representations of anti-racist claimsmaking, which takes a specifically Scottish focus in the Scottish press and is systematised over a particular period ranging from 1994 to 2004. This is supplemented by interviews with anti-racist activists and policy officials, with a specific focus on those who played a key role at an institutional level pre-devolution and those with a close involvement in the development of One Scotland, Many Cultures. This triangulation is grounded via a historical approach which seeks, through archival recovery, to unravel the contextual construction of ‘racism as a Scottish problem’ from 1968 to 2004.
This thesis concludes that the devolved polity’s problem typification draws on historical currents specific to representations of ‘racism’ as influenced by Scotland-based anti-racist formation, but adds a new dimension, such that the definition of ‘racism’ is ‘therapised’.
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