The landscape of post-imperial whiteness in rural Britain

Knowles, Caroline. 2008. The landscape of post-imperial whiteness in rural Britain. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(1), pp. 167-184. ISSN 0141-9870 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Rural racism is a serious political problem and this paper explores the conditions of its production. Most significant among conditions producing racism is not the management of racialized otherness, as many writers contend, but the fabrication of white Britishness itself in the peculiar, shifting, social alchemy of rural life and landscape. Particularly important in the production of rural whiteness is the 'Raj factor'; the contribution of returnees, retired from service in the British Empire. These lives are expatriated from Britain, forged in the social relations and landscapes of empire, and then repatriated. This paper is about the intimate place of empire in rural South Devon and the production and re-inscription of practices of empire which cohere with the fabric of rural life. It argues that these elderly returnees add a tone, an inflection, in the social production of whiteness as place and human fabric, and that this is significant in the production of rural racism.

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Empire, racism, rurality, race-making, whiteness, Britishness

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September 2008Published

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Date Deposited:

28 May 2009 09:54

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:07

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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