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When Anti-Islamic Protest Comes to Town: Political Responses to the English Defence League

Allchorn, William Edward Charles (2016) When Anti-Islamic Protest Comes to Town: Political Responses to the English Defence League. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Seven years since its formation, scant academic attention has been paid to how politicians and policymakers have responded to the English Defence League. While a small and fragmented literature has charted some governmental, policing and civil society responses to this form of anti-Islamic protest, little is known about how UK politicians and policymakers have responded to the group where the EDL has demonstrated the most: at the local level. This study aims to address this lacuna. Using semi-structured elite interviews with thirty-four Members of Parliament and local Councillors as well as six behind-the-scenes policy officials, this thesis maps the types of responses issued by local politicians in Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester, Luton and Tower Hamlets. Moreover, it generates a new typology for anti-EDL responses – charting a continuum from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’ exclusion and on towards more inclusionary measures. Additionally, it provides the first cross-case analysis of the EDL and its protest – positing de-industrialisation, migration as well as prior histories of extremism and disorder as key contextual drivers when the EDL comes to town. What will be found here is significant. Whilst the majority of political responses towards the EDL have been largely static and exclusionary in nature, how these exclusionary responses manifest themselves and what drives such responses varies greatly. Moreover, some responses have exhibited a more inclusionary character - with a minority of responses involved in engagement and interaction work with both communities prone to and affected by EDL protest. This thesis will argue it is only through politicians’ engagement with the politically disaffected and the construction of meaningful forms of interaction between (previously isolated) communities that we can counteract the populist and prejudicial barbs of the EDL and other far-right groups across Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: English Defence League, Far Right, Policy Responses, Community Cohesion, Public Order Management, Counter Extremism
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.701717
Depositing User: Dr William Allchorn
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 10:35
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15938

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