Racism, crisis, and confrontation – political struggles over racist violence and state racism in Britain, 1958-1999

Petersen, Helge (2022) Racism, crisis, and confrontation – political struggles over racist violence and state racism in Britain, 1958-1999. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis provides a conjunctural analysis of the political struggles over racist violence and state racism in Britain from the late 1950s to the late 1990s. Based on original archival research conducted between 2017 and 2020, and drawing on critical materialist theoretical and methodological perspectives, it combines extensive context analysis with a series of in depth case studies that examine various incidents of excessive or deadly violence against Black and Asian individuals. It focuses not only on racist murders that have led to accusations of insufficient, biased, and discriminatory police investigations and criminal prosecutions but also on incidents of deadly police violence that have led to accusations of racist discrimination and victimisation. More specifically, it explores a distinct cycle of struggles that had begun in the aftermath of the racist riots in Notting Hill and Nottingham in 1958 and reached an important yet limited watershed with the publication of the Macpherson report in 1999. While the existing literature in the area of racism studies tends to lose sight of these struggles, this thesis offers new insights into the cases of Kelso Cochrane (1959), Gurdip Singh Chaggar (1976), the New Cross fire (1981), Dorothy “Cherry” Groce (1985), Cynthia Jarrett (1985), as well as Stephen Lawrence (1993). At the centre of these case studies lies an examination of the struggles of the bereaved families as well as minority, anti-racist, and anti-fascist support actors. The focus on the second half of the 20th century was chosen to demonstrate that these conflict dynamics can only be fully grasped if they are situated within broader socio-historical and (geo-)political developments. The thesis places particular emphasis on the economic crisis of the early 1970s which continued to have a longstanding political impact in the 1980s and 1990s, the decline of the British Empire since the mid-20th century, as well as the legitimation crisis of British traditionalism since the late 1960s. With such a socio-historical perspective, this project makes an innovative contribution to understanding the trajectories of violent racism, social crisis, and political conflict in modern British history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Virdee, Professor Satnam and Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82951
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 13:38
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2022 13:48
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82951
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82951

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