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The Politics of Racism and Poverty : 2001 Oldham Riots

  • 중앙사론
  • 2012, (36), pp.417-449
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

YEOMWoonOk 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the Oldham riots of in the spring and summer of 2001. Oldham located near Greater Manchester, north England, is a working class town with 100,000 people. In the 2001 census, the ethnic minority of Pakistani origin accounts for 6.3% and Muslims 11.1%. Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants came to the area since 1950 and 60s, from Mirpur, Punjab, Kashimir and Syhlet. The chain migration of the South Asian immigrants is the main cause behind the large proportion of very young population there compared to the white British community. In the years prior to the disturbances in Oldham, officially recorded racially motivated crimes against white residents of the town were higher than anywhere in Greater Manchester. Certain type of crime are more likely to be reported than others by media. The media reported South Asian Muslim agents of 2001 Oldham riots as "Asian gangs." The stereotyping of Asian young men has transformed them from being categorized as law-abiding and victims of racial violence to those who associated with criminality, drugs, violence and disorder. The transformation of racial stereotype prohibits one from understanding the nature of violence in the riots. As Kundnani rightly points out, the Oldham riots were "the violence of the violated." Furthermore, the riots was the struggle for recognition of the second and third generation of South Asian Muslims who were not benefited by multiculturalism and the politics of recognition. The Oldham riots became a threshold by which the British government policy has changed from multiculturaism to "community cohesion." In the discourse of "community cohesion" exists the high possibility of slippages from 'society' to 'community' and from 'community cohesion' to 'national cohesion'.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.