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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Whiteness, Britishness and the Racist Reality of Brexit

Bowler, Rick (2017) Whiteness, Britishness and the Racist Reality of Brexit. Working Paper. University of Sunderland, Sunderland.

Item Type: Reports, briefing/ working papers (Working Paper)


This paper explores the ongoing reality of British Racism as exemplified in the ‘theory of numbers’ (Mullard, 1973). This theory racially marks the immigrant body and has been a reoccurring fiction woven into national debates since its justification for the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act (Dummett and Dummett, 1982; Miles and Phizaklea, 1984). The Brexit debate is identified as the latest example of how the absence of public education about Britain’s colonial legacy leaves institutionalised racism and the whitewashing of English /British identity outside of an explanatory frame (Paul, 1997). This absence alongside the political choice to perpetuate the theory of numbers leaves, in the public imagination, false explanations that retain an ongoing belief in fictions about ‘race’ and immigration. These stories about race and immigration told by the primarily white middle class men leading the Brexit debate obfuscates the reality about the lack of political planning for social and economic infrastructure to meet demographic change. This paper challenges the racial fictions woven into the Brexit debate and argues that Critical Race Theory (CRT) offers an important viewpoint from which to trouble the privileging social system of whiteness (Feagin, 2013) and its white nation fantasies (Hage,1998) about class, nationhood and identity.

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Depositing User: Barry Hall


Item ID: 8463
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Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 15:07
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2021 09:14


Author: Rick Bowler

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Sociology

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