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Britishness and ‘the outsider within’: tracing manifestations of racist nativism in education policy in England

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Heather Smith



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Racist nativism is a concept which helps us understand the relationship between racialisation and nativism. It is used here to examine cultural values perpetuated by media and political discourse as alien to British values in constructions of Britishness. This paper will consider with interest racist nativism revealed in the construction of Islam and, by association Muslims, as (members of) a non-Christian religion of non-Western tradition; and the speaking and speakers of languages other than English. This provides a contextual frame through which to examine education policy from early 2000s to the present day in order to trace how this racist nativism is manifested within and across policy development in England, thereby attributing significant institutional symbolic value. Manifestations of racist nativism are revealed in the quantity, force, focus and tone of the policies, but also, and perhaps most importantly, in deletions and absences, which this paper concludes is suggestive of a state-mandated racial epistemology of ignorance (Mills, 1997).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith HJS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Prism: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice

Year: 2021

Pages: Early view

Online publication date: 29/07/2021

Acceptance date: 13/04/2021

Date deposited: 09/05/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2514-5347

Publisher: Liverpool John Moores University; School of Education


DOI: 10.24377/prism.ljmu.0302209


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