About the book, from the publisher:
Immigration and racism are amongst the most controversial topics in English society. This book provides an accessible account of post-war immigration but it also critiques the language of racial, ethnic and cultural difference that emerged to understand racism. Combining history and social theory, Struggles for a Past makes a genuine contribution to debates on English identity, historical memory and contemporary multiculturalism.Learn more about Struggles for a Past at the Manchester University Press website.
This book explores how Irish and Afro-Caribbean immigrants were represented in post-war English culture. Beginning with the 1951 Festival of Britain, Struggles for a Past illuminates how dominant perceptions of the national past helped to construct immigrants as outsiders. Those outsiders were understood to pose 'race' problems that required management and intervention. Race relations work had serious shortcomings but it also offered immigrant groups a space and a language to construct their heritage and to deploy historical narratives in pursuit of social justice. In cultural and educational projects, immigrants and their children struggled for their pasts and won recognition as ethnic groups. Yet, as they did so, they became trapped by an ethnic historicism that closed down the possibilities of social justice for all.
Written in an accessible manner, and combining history, sociology and education, this book will appeal to students and general readers interested in the history of race ideas, in historical memory and the future of social justice.
The Page 99 Test: Struggles for a Past.