A difficult balance: society, politics and race relations legislation in post-war Britain

Barber, Thomas (2015) A difficult balance: society, politics and race relations legislation in post-war Britain. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    As Britain’s former colonies became independent through the course of the post-war period, a number of ‘New Commonwealth’ immigrants took up residence in Britain. By the mid-1960s, friction between the indigenous population and the new population came to the forefront of society and politics. In 1965, the UK government now under Harold Wilson’s Labour party enacted the Race Relations Act 1965 which aimed to deal with discrimination in Britain. This was expanded through a second Act in 1968. Historiography has often characterised these Acts as unsubstantial and lacking in any real attempt to combat the perceived increased tensions. Despite this, there were tangible instances in which the Acts were used to prosecute individuals accused of discrimination.

    This dissertation attempts to argue that viewing the Acts as ineffective is to remove them from their role as a combatant of discrimination. Furthermore, what is revealed through this examination is a difficult policy-making process which involved co-operation between the Government and the Opposition, and a distinct conflation of inclusionist anti-discrimination ideology with exclusionist immigration rhetoric. Combining close textual analysis of the Acts’ provisions with discussions of academic perspectives offers a variety of insights on the race relations debate. Contemporary newspaper articles and discussions from within the Houses of Parliament have been used in order to gauge both the societal and political reaction to these issues.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 08:40
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2015 08:40
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/17311

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