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Policing the Irish: whiteness, 'race' and British cultural studies
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 13:08 authored by Sean Campbell
The Irish presence in England has been invoked in a range of recent accounts of ‘race’, ethnicity and immigration. However, Irish migrants were largely obscured in cultural studies’ turn to ‘race’ and ethnicity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, despite the fact that England’s Irish were the country’s largest migrant minority and intrinsically relevant to the work of cultural studies. This article explores the absence of an Irish dimension in British cultural studies’ work on ‘race’ and ethnicity, focusing on the landmark texts Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order and The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain. The article illustrates the salience of the Irish to these accounts, and shows how Irish ethnicity (despite being invoked in the formative work of E.P. Thompson) was erased at key moments. Finally, the article maps the emergence of an Irish dimension in cultural studies’ work on ‘race’ and ethnicity since the 1990s.
Publication titleEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies