‘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, Ben 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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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
Keywords: British Emigration, Postcolonialism, New Imperialism, Immigration, ‘Race’
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Ben Rogaly
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:13
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 23:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11129

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