Gender Politics, 'virtuous Racism' and Diasporic Political Resistance in Europe

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:09 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Chloe GILL-KHAN , International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, The University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Gender politics has long been the staple of national discourse surrounding the integration of ex-colonial diasporas in Europe, in particular in Britain and France. If during the 1970s and 1980s the male immigrant father was depicted as patriarchal and oppressive who prevented his female counterparts from integrating into the state, contemporaneous debates in relation to their children perpetuate similar tropes. Male diasporic citizens, now in their third and fourth generations, have come to be seen through pathologised images that place exclusive focus on their supposed dysfunctional gender relations rooted in 'other' cultural practices.

This paper examines how dominant narratives of the patriarchal and redundant migrant and diasporic male rooted in culture depoliticise – and erase – decades-long struggles to carve their rightful places in Britain and France. De-industrialisation, joblessness, extreme right-wing racism and institutional exclusion are silenced as the driving forces for contemporaneous male political resistance (civil riots). Instead, dominant discourses pathologising ‘other’ cultures divide diasporic men and women, pitting them against one another to legitimise the intervention of the state, a process the French sociologist Nacira Guénif-Souilamas terms ‘virtuous racism’. The paper traces the deployment of ‘virtuous racism’ in Britain and France that serve to reinforce structural inequalities through their precise erasure under the privileging of culture to ‘explain’ diasporic gender politics.