New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its others

  • Terese Jonsson (Presented paper)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Description of Activity

Feminist politics and racial neoliberalism in Britain This paper will apply the concept of ‘racial neoliberalism’ (Goldberg, 2009; Kapoor, 2013) to an examination of contemporary feminist discourse in Britain. Examining in particular some recent debates which relate to the topic of refugees, asylum and immigration, the paper will consider how hegemonic feminist discourse articulates the relationship between gender, race, sexism and racism, and raise questions about whether and how this discourse participates in the reproduction of racist and colonial logics in the contemporary moment. It is clear that, as a result of work by feminists of colour, there has been a marked increase in attentiveness to the need to be 'inclusive' in feminist theory and practice on the part of white feminists. Yet, despite black feminists’ call for attention to the colonial history of racism and sexism in Britain (e.g. Carby, 1982; Amos & Parmar, 1984), the increased attention to and attempts at ‘inclusivity’ and ‘intersectionality’ (terms which are often used interchangeably, despite not in fact meaning the same thing) within hegemonic – white-dominated – feminist discourse is predominantly ahistorical in approach. The paper will consider whether such articulations and practices could be understood as expressing a racial neoliberalism – a discourse which silences the significance of racism and which continues to evade the significance of Britain’s colonialist history for understanding the co-constitution of the categories of gender and race. The paper will call for urgent feminist attention to the persistent underlying colonial structures of contemporary Britain, and feminism's role in reproducing these, arguing that anything less leaves feminist politics ill-equipped to respond with the complexity required to tackle current configurations of racist and sexist oppression and violence.
Period10 Jun 2016
Event typeConference
LocationBrighton, United Kingdom

Keywords

  • feminism
  • racism
  • neoliberalism