Newcastle Critical Discourse Group

Current Programme

SEMESTER 1 - 2017/18

October 25th

John E Richardson, Loughborough University

The Imagined Community: ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ in British fascist discourse

ARMB 3.39 1600-1800

 

November 29th

Lyndon C.S. Way

 From concert to on-line musings: The transformative nature of political discourse in popular music performance and consumption

ARMB 3.39 1600-1800

 

December 20th

 Amir Saeed

The Influence of the Nation of Islam and Islam on British-Muslim Ex-offenders.

Malcolm, Muhammad and Redemption.

 ARMB 3.39 1600-1800

 

 

 ABSTRACTS

John E Richardson, Loughborough University

The Imagined Community: ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ in British fascist discourse

Since the publication of Anderson (1983/2006), many have taken it as axiomatic that the nation is “an imagined political community” (p.6).  In addition, a nationalist will imagine their nation as simultaneously archaic and eternal; as always have been and always will be. Continuity of ‘the nation’ is central to this nationalist imaginary – preserving the timeless qualities that are assumed to make Us Us.


A cursory glance at the names of British fascist political parties since the 1920s indicates just how central the words Britain and British are to the British extreme-right. But what (or who) do they mean by ‘the British’? And what kinds of ideas and arguments are used by British fascists to define and demarcate Us from Them? These are the questions that I aim to address in my talk.

 

 

 

 

Lyndon C.S. Way

From concert to on-line musings: The transformative nature of political discourse in popular music performance and consumption

Relations between popular music and political discourses are fraught with uncertainty, views ranging from the highly optimistic to those which are far more limited. It is an under-examined area in discourse analysis, though there are notable exceptions (van Leeuwen 1999; Machin 2010; Way and McKerrell 2017). Here, I extend this area of research by examining a recording of a concert and its accompanying comments on Youtube by the politically active band “Grup Yorum”. Firstly, leaning on Multimodal Discourse Studies, I analyse how the concert multimodally articulates progressive political discourses such as egalitarianism, Kurdish rights, workers’ rights and the injustices of unbridled capitalism through not only lyrics, musical sounds and visuals, but also speeches, guests, song selection and dance. This analysis also reveals the limits of this particular performance and performance in general. I then analyse a sample of comments which accompany the video to reveal “the interpretative resources and practices” of fans (Fairclough 1995: 16). I find that comments do not deal with the actual events represented in the video but personalise these and seek to frame these in terms of wider forms of allegiances to, and betrayal of, a true national people and in the light of homogenised and reduced forms of history.

 

References

 

Machin, D. (2010), Analysing Popular Music, London: Sage.

Van Leeuwen, T. (1999), Speech, Music, Sound, London: Macmillan Press.

Way, L. and McKerrell, S. (eds) (2017) Music as Multimodal Discourse: Media, power and Protest, London & New York: Bloomsbury.

 

 

 

 Amir Saeed

The Influence of the Nation of Islam and Islam on British-Muslim Ex-offenders.

Malcolm, Muhammad and Redemption.

 

The Nation of Islam’s appeal and recognition has transcended the boundaries of ‘race’ and national borders (Egg 1998, Gardell, 1996). Just as the Civil Rights and Black consciousness movements have inspired human rights activists around the world the Nation Of Islam’s rhetoric has been a motivating symbol for many non white and minority communities across the globe. (Marqusee,1999, 1995). Malcolm X’s and Muhammad Ali’s images are increasingly employed in contemporary youth culture (Saeed, 2013).

This article examines why the NOI has been such a key figure and for many non-white communities and especially the Muslim and South -Asian Diaspora in the UK (Saeed, 2003). This argument is based upon empirical work conducted with British-Pakistani ex offenders who trained in a gym in the North of England. This work was funded through a grant received by a Mosque in North of England that wanted to address the issues of an ever-increasing Muslim presence in UK prisons.

The offenders specifically spoke with pride of how Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and the NOI in general provided them with the impetus for exploring Islam and raising self. The participants were well aware that the NOI theology was not strictly Islamic (Dyson, 1995). However they argued given the NOI’s prominence in youth culture, especially hip-hop and sport (Saeed, 2013), it provided an influential role in influencing young British Muslims.

Given the anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused by leading social commentators following 9/11 (Saeed, 2007), the NOI’S appeal and message of social justice seems more relevant than ever. Recent anti-war demonstrations in the UK saw Malcolm X’s image employed by young British-Muslims demonstrating what they perceived as social injustice being committed to Muslims around the world in the name of fighting terrorism (Saeed, 2011a, b, 2004, 2003).

In order to do this the article highlights historical developments in Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s careers that helped make them symbols of anti-racism and the personification of an assertive black consciousness (Van De Burgh,1992; Lincoln, 1994).

These historical developments are further linked to the issue of identity politics. Thus terms like 'black' and ' Muslim' (Modood, 1994) are explored in relation to NOI and their appeal in particular to British-Asian Muslim communities.

 

References

 

Dyson, M. (1995) Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X. New York: Oxford University Press

Egg, C (1998) An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad New York: ST Martins Press 3rd edition

Gardell, M. (1996).In the name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the

Nation of Islam. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Lincoln, C E (1994) Black Muslims in America Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm .B Eardmans Publishing 3rd edition

Van Deburgh, W. (1992) New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture1965-1975. Chicago: Chicagao University Press

Modood, T (1994) Changing Ethnic Identities.  London: PSI

Saeed, A. (2003) “ ‘What’s in a name’ Muhammad Ali and the Politics of Cultural Identity Culture, Sport and Society Vol 5 Number 3 pp51-72

Saeed, A. (2004) “9/11 and British Muslims” in Carter J and Morland D 2004 Anti-Capitalist Britain Manchester, New Clarion Press

Saeed, A (2007) 'Media, Racism and Islamophobia: The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media', Sociology Compass (1) (2007) (available at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1751-9020.2007.00039.x)



Saeed, A (2011a) "Worthy of all praises": Muhammad Ali, and the politics of Muslim identity', Soundings, 47


Saeed, A (2011b) '9/11 and the Increase in Racism and Islamophobia: A Personal Reflection', Radical History Review, pp. 210-215

Saeed, A (2013) Hip-Hop Islam and Woman in Postcolonial Islam edited by Sarah Hackett Routledge Press, 2013