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‘They called them Communists then...what d’you call ‘em now?... Insurgents?’ Narratives of British military expatriates in the context of the new imperialism

Rogaly, B. and Taylor, Becky (2010) ‘They called them Communists then...what d’you call ‘em now?... Insurgents?’ Narratives of British military expatriates in the context of the new imperialism. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36 (8), pp. 1335-1351. ISSN 1369-183X.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691831003687741

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of the extent to which the colonial past provides material for contemporary actors' understanding of difference. The research from which the paper is drawn involved interview and ethnographic work in three largely white working-class estates in an English provincial city. For this paper we focus on ten life-history interviews with older participants who had spent some time abroad in the British military. Our analysis adopts a postcolonial framework because research participants' current constructions of an amorphous ‘Other’ (labelled variously as black people, immigrants, foreigners, asylum-seekers or Muslims) reveal strong continuities with discourses deployed by the same individuals to narrate their past experiences of living and working as either military expatriates or spouses during British colonial rule. Theoretically, the paper engages with the work of Frantz Fanon and Edward Said. In keeping with a postcolonial approach, we work against essentialised notions of identity based on ‘race’ or class. Although we establish continuity between white working-class military emigration in the past and contemporary racialised discourses, we argue that the latter are not class-specific, being as much the creations of the middle-class media and political elite.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies © 2010 [copyright Taylor & Francis]; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies is available online at: www.tandfonline.com
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): British Emigration, Postcolonialism, New Imperialism, Immigration, ‘Race’
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Dr Becky Taylor
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2012 10:15
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4964

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