Accusations and Denials of Racism in Dialogical Context

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Building on the work of Susan Condor (2006) and Condor et al. (2006), this chapter explores the way in which racism can become a live issue in political debate and in particular how both being heard to be racist and being heard to make an accusation of racism are oriented to as difficult positions. The chapter first briefly reviews recent work on the discursive management of racism, before illustrating the dialogical complexities of ‘racism’ as an analytic object through a single-case analysis of an exchange between the British politicians Tim Farron, Suzanne Evans and Ken Clarke on BBC Radio 4’s political discussion programme Any Questions? during the 2015 General Election campaign. In exploring an extended sequence of debate, the analysis highlights a number of strategies through which the spectre of racism is both raised and resisted and in particular focusses on the way in which a discussion that could have focussed on policies advocated by Nigel Farage, then the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP, a radical right political party that has been influential in recent years in the UK), becomes as much about the legitimacy of accusations of racism themselves. Racism is thus not simply a problem for Evans—who defends Farage—but also for Clarke, who is explicitly criticising Farage’s policies on ‘race and immigration’. Implications for discursive psychological analyses of political discourse at a time when many commentators have pointed to an increase in support for populist policies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical communication: Discursive perspectives
EditorsMirko A Demasi, Shani Burke, Cristian Tileagă
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783030602239
ISBN (Print)9783030602222
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Discursive Psychology
ISSN (Print)2946-4978
ISSN (Electronic)2946-4986


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