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White Working-Class VoicesMulticulturalism, community-building and change$
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Harris Beider

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447313953

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447313953.001.0001

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date: 16 August 2017

Multiculturalism and the exclusion of the white working class

Multiculturalism and the exclusion of the white working class

Chapter:
(p.25) Two Multiculturalism and the exclusion of the white working class
Source:
White Working-Class Voices
Author(s):

Harris Beider

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447313953.003.0002

In this chapter the view that the rise of multiculturalism muted the voice of these communities is disputed with changing economic and political priorities being put forward as much more rational reasons. The collapse of coalmining, steel and shipbuilding had a devastating impact on working class neighbourhoods leading to generational unemployment. This happened alongside government reforms that curbed trade union power and the shift of the Labour Party–the traditional voice of white working class communities - in appealing to middle class voters. In the aftermath of the 2001 riots multiculturalism was marginalised by successive governments and a new political consensus emerged that negatively conflated immigration with diversity. Concerns about immigration and disillusionment with established political parties led to the rise in support for UKIP based on appealing to white working class voters. The clamour to win white working class support by a nostalgic retrospective combined with a febrile debate on immigration could easily lead to an erroneous assumption that white working class communities are backward, resistant to change and in support of extreme positions.

Keywords:   multiculturalism, community cohesion, new labour, ukip, dirty whiteness, clean whiteness

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