Race, Englishness and the media: depictions of urban rioting in England, 1980-81
Master of Arts
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"Race, Englishness and the Media is an examination of racialised depictions of the urban riots which broke out in England's major cities in the early 1980s. The analysis focuses on two major English newspapers, the Times and the Guardian, whose reporting of the disturbances both informed and drew from white, middle-class, English ideals. The media coverage of these racially charged riots demonstrates a continued connection in English society to a set of white, middle-class ideals which permeated all aspects of English society and kept immigrant groups on the outside of mainstream English culture through generations. The riots which erupted in English urban centres like Brixton, London, St. Paul's, Bristol and Toxteth, Liverpool, were the result of decades of social and economic isolation of minority communities. Social isolation of ethnic minority communties led to the creation of countercultures which were often at odds with more traditional English mentalities, social structures and institutions. Economic isolation contributed heavily to increases in criminality among minority populations and inevitably clashes with the police. English society continued to keep ethnic minority communities on the fringes of society, particularly notable in media reporting where clashes between West Indian and South Asian communities were depicted as alien, even when most of their populations were born and raised in England. An analysis of the media reporting of the riots of 1980-81, clearly shows a reliance on and reproduction of white, middle-class ideals in the English media which would continue to keep minority groups on the fringes of society in the name of selling newspapers."-- from abstract.