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Understanding a populist discourse: an ethnographic account of the English Defence League’s collective identity

Oaten, Alexander (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis will examine the collective identity of the English Defence League by utilising Ernesto Laclau’s theory of populism. The empirical research contained within this study was gained via an ethnographic investigation of the EDL which included eighteen months of observations at demonstrations and twenty six narrative interviews conducted with a small group of EDL members. The study will utilise concepts that have been developed by Laclau in order to present a theoretical understanding of the way in which the EDL constructs its collective identity. By examining the role of demands and dislocation, equivalence and antagonism and the empty signifier in constructing the EDL’s identity this work will shed new light on how the EDL emerged and the way in which it developed as a populist social movement.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Kerr, Peter (1962-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Additional Information:

Publication arising from research:

Oaten, A., 2014. The cult of the victim: an analysis of the collective identity of the English Defence League. Patterns of Prejudice, 48(4), pp.331-349.

Subjects:HT Communities. Classes. Races
HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
JC Political theory
JN101 Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7309
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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