Racial self-interest, Max Weber and the production of racism: the strategy and propaganda of Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum

This paper is finally out in Patterns of Prejudice, HERE. Here’s the abstract:

‘Shaw’s paper examines Eric Kaufmann’s idea of ‘racial self-interest’—which references Max Weber’s types of rationality in order to support ‘cordoning off’ racism from broader anti-immigration attitudes—through an analysis of Brexit, Kaufmann’s principal case. It discusses how Weber’s ideas might help us identify ‘absolute’ and ‘instrumental’ types of racial attitude and the relationships of these types to racism. Arguing that, in an electoral contest in which anti-immigration politics is highly mobilized, it is necessary to pay attention to the campaign, Shaw investigates whether these types of attitude can be distinguished in the strategy and propaganda of the 2016 Leave campaign and its leaders’ choices as well as its voters’ attitudes, and whether the campaign’s ‘instrumental’ anti-immigration attitudes can be excluded from the field of racism. Arguing that Weberian methodology implies that we should not only construct ideal types of racial attitudes but also use them to develop general, structural concepts of racism, Shaw concludes that anti-immigration politics is best conceptualized as a generally racialized field characterized by a fluid interplay of different types of racist ideas. His paper’s focus on Vote Leave, the officially recognized campaign led by Conservative ministers, also makes a specific contribution to the history of the Leave side of the referendum, correcting the idea that the populist-linked Leave.EU was primarily responsible for racism.’

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