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Gendering the ‘White Backlash’: Islam, Patriarchal ‘Unfairness’, and the Defense of Women’s Rights Among Women Supporters of the British National Party

  • Jon Mulholland
Chapter

Abstract

Formed in 1982 out of the overtly fascist National Front, the British National Party (BNP) went on to be the most successful ultra-nationalist party in British electoral history, reaching a high point of influence in 2010, only to suffer a dramatic disintegration shortly after. Capitalizing on a host of demand-side conditions, including the ever-increasing socio-economic and welfare precarities of the post-industrial working class, and profound social transformations associated with processes of globalization and mass migration, the BNP successfully allied a drive for modernization and professionalization within the party to an effective appeal to important sections of the white ‘have-nots’ directly on the basis of the latter’s sense of resentment at the ‘unfairness’ of their position in their own national home. Such resentment, and the invocations of ‘unfairness’ that are its necessary bedfellow, constitutes what has usefully been conceptualized as a ‘white backlash’. As an extreme right, ultra-nationalist party, the BNP belongs to a party family commonly referred to as Männerparteien (men’s parties), on account of the predominance of men in their leadership, membership, and support base. But this rendition may also contribute to a failure to recognize the important role played by women in such organizations. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, this chapter explores how resentment and ‘unfairness’, as key features of the ‘white backlash’, become gendered in the hands of women supporters of the BNP and deployed as a tool for signifying and pathologizing the specific presence of Islam and Muslims in the UK as a direct threat to gender-related justice and equality.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Mulholland
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health and Social SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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