Williams, Sasha and Law, Ian (2012) Legitimising Racism: An Exploration of the Challenges Posed by the Use of Indigeneity Discourses by the Far Right. Sociological research online, 17 (2). ISSN 1360-7804

The disintegration of the British National Party (BNP) has removed the threat of the party securing a place in the political mainstream in the UK. But, in coming close to this objective it has succeeded in renewing and legitimising both its own claims to speak on behalf of the indigenous people of Britain, as well as the similar claims of other groups such as the English Defence League (EDL), the English Democrats and the Freedom Party. Rather than assessing the impact of the BNP in terms of the number of votes and councillors, this article contends that the renewal of racist discourse may enable far right views and ideologies to penetrate and gain acceptance in mainstream British society over the next decade. This article examines the re-shaping of the rhetoric of indigeneity by the BNP to legitimise racism. Using articles originally written for the BNP magazine Identity between 2006 and 2008 and extracted from the BNP website in advance of the 2010 elections, this article discursively analyses the way in which the BNP deploys the concept of indigeneity in its constructions of social groups in Britain. It is suggested that the potential (mis)use of indigeneity as a legitimising vehicle for racist and illiberal views and policies is exacerbated by the lack of clear definitional boundaries around the concept of indigeneity itself.

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