Outsiders in the city: local media representations of Asians in 1970s Leicester

Yemm, Rachel (2017) Outsiders in the city: local media representations of Asians in 1970s Leicester. In: Urban Belonging: History and the Power of Place, 13th-14th January, 2017, Institute of Historical Research, London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Leicester’s central position in the country, range of industry, and cheap housing, meant that by the 1970s the city had the biggest immigrant population in the country. This paper will examine local media representations of Asians in Leicester during the 1970s, focusing on the Leicester Mercury and ATV news: ITV’s regional news channel for the Midlands. Asian immigrants tended to congregate in the centre of the city, with specific Muslim and Hindu areas being formed. Negative local media depictions of Asians in Leicester often focused on their physical impact on certain areas of the city, for example the Hindu tradition of doorstep painting. I will suggest that local media fuelled the atmosphere of racial tension which lead to the emergence of racial boundaries in Leicester.

Leicester gained national attention numerous times throughout the 1970s, firstly due to hostile reactions to Ugandan Asian refugees, and again in 1974 when Asian workers at the Imperial typewriter factory went on strike. On both occasions, Asian were depicted negatively by local media, which focused on run down accommodation and aggressive Asian men marching through the streets, fuelling fears about physical changes to the city.

This paper develops the work of Joanna Herbert, which explores racial boundaries in Leicester, and scholars such as Wendy Webster and Gavin Schaffer, who have examined the impact of national media on public perceptions of immigration in Britain. It will develop their work by demonstrating how local media contributed to the varying development of race relations within British communities.

Keywords:Post-war immigration, 20th century British History, Media history
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:26490
Deposited On:27 Feb 2017 15:29

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