Intolerant Britain? Hate, Citizenship and Difference

Intolerant Britain? Hate, Citizenship and Difference

Intolerant Britain? Hate, Citizenship and Difference

Intolerant Britain? Hate, Citizenship and Difference

Synopsis

This fascinating book uses case studies to explore a number of high-profile and contemporary 'social problems' that exist in British society, including:Racism and institutional racism. Ethnic and religious community segregation. Social and institutional asylophobia. Islamophobia and the incitement of religious hatred. Homophobia, institutional homophobia and community safety. At the same time the book examines various legislative and strategic movements introduced to tackle these social problems, for example strategies to counter institutional prejudices (especially in policing), hate crime legislation, managed migration, community safety and community cohesion strategies. Throughout the book, McGhee contextualizes these strategies within the Government's wider project of attempting to revitalize British citizenship.Intolerant Britain? is key reading for students on courses in sociology, social policy, politics, race and ethnicity studies, gender studies, media and cultural studies and criminology.

Excerpt

The social problem of hate

In the early twenty-first century, hatred, prejudice, intolerance and antagonism between groups are commonplace in the UK, just as they are throughout the world. In most cases, hatred embodies a set of fears about difference; it often forms around the unknown rather than the known in relation to racial, religious, cultural, sexual and gendered ‘others’ (Eisenstein 1996). Hatreds, like prejudices, are complex and multiple phenomena. Some prejudices (e.g. antifascist) are considered good, some (e.g. preference for tall people over short people) relatively innocuous, but other prejudices increasingly provoke strong social and political censure (Jacobs and Potter 1998). Some of these so-called ‘bad prejudices’ are examined in this book, in particular racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and asylophobia (the fear and hatred of asylum seekers).

To understand the nature of hating and the formation of prejudices, attempts have been made to classify the different varieties of prejudices and hatreds. For example, Allport (1954), in his book The Nature of Prejudice, distinguished between ‘hate-prejudice’ and ‘love-prejudice’. Love-prejudices occur when the very act of affirming a group’s or individual’s way of life is associated with a perceived outside threat to their privileged position in society. This form of prejudice has many associations with the preservationist motivations of Far Right and fundamentalist groups, who attempt to mobilize hatred as a defence against a myriad number of others. On the other hand, hate-prejudices are driven by the desire to eradicate the object of hate. This hatred is extropunitive, which means that the hater is sure that the fault lies in the object of hate and thus the hatred is justified and sustained through the continuing existence of the other.

Like Allport, Young-Breuhl (1996) also attempts to make sense of the different types of prejudices and hatreds in her book The Anatomy of Prejudice. She distinguishes between primary (‘bad’) prejudices, such as sexism, racism, antiSemitism and homophobia, and secondary, relatively harmless prejudices, for . . .

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