New article: Whiteness, populism and the racialisation of the working class in the United Kingdom and the United States

To cite this article: Aurelien Mondon & Aaron Winter (2018): Whiteness, populism and the racialisation of the working class in the United Kingdom and the United States, Identities, DOI:10.1080/1070289X.2018.1552440

To link to this article:

The pre-published text is available here


The election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote were widely hailed as examples of (white) working class revolts. This article examines the populist racialisation of the working class as white and ‘left behind’, and representative of the ‘people’ or ‘demos’, in the campaigns and commentaries. We argue that such constructions made race central, obscured the class make-up, allowed for the re-assertion of white identity as a legitimate political category and legitimised, mainstreamed and normalised racism and the far right. Moreover, it delegitimised Black, Minority Ethnic and immigrant experiences and interests, including working class ones. We show that the construction of the votes as (white) working class revolts, and representing the ‘people’ and/or ‘demos’, is based on a partial reading of electoral data, misrepresents the votes, stigmatises the working class, and supports an ideological purpose which maintains the racial, political and economic status quo.

Author: Aurelien Mondon

Aurelien Mondon is a Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Bath. His research focuses predominantly on the impact of racism and populism on liberal democracies and the mainstreaming of far right politics through elite discourse. His first book, The Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right in France and Australia: A Populist Hegemony?, was published in 2013 and he recently co-edited After Charlie Hebdo: Terror, racism and free speech published with Zed. His new book Reactionary democracy: How racism and the populist far right became mainstream, co-written with Aaron Winter, is now out with Verso.

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