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Shades of whiteness? English villagers, Eastern European migrants and the intersection of race and class in rural England

Moore, H (2013) 'Shades of whiteness? English villagers, Eastern European migrants and the intersection of race and class in rural England.' Critical Race and Whiteness Studies, 9 (1). ISSN 1838 - 8310

Abstract

White lives are lived and structurally positioned in multiple ways due to the intersection of whiteness with social class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, local and national political discourses and historical contexts. Taking this insight as my starting point, my article will explore Hartigan’s (1999) theory that different degrees or ‘shades’ of whiteness exist as variants of hegemonic whiteness by focusing specifically on the English countryside: a territory which remains largely unexplored by critical whiteness scholars. I examine the ways in which residents of a rural English village perceive Eastern European migrants who have moved to the area (since the expansion of the European Union in 2004) to undertake low- paid horticultural labour. My findings from twelve months of residential ethnographic research suggest that due to class-inflected discourses about clothing, hair, language, labour, and respectable and desirable ways of living, English village residents view Eastern European migrant workers as ‘not quite white’ enough to be accepted into rural village life. Based on an analysis of the discourses through which English villagers construct binaries of self/other and insider/outsider, I conclude that Eastern European migrants are subject to subtle and class-based processes of racialisation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: whiteness, social class, rural England, Eastern Europe, immigration, racialisation
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 15:19
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 15:19
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