Formed in 1982 out of the overtly fascist National Front, The British National Party (BNP) went on to be the most successful ultra-nationalist party in British electoral history, reaching a high point of influence in 2010, only to suffer a dramatic disintegration shortly after. Capitalising on a host of demand-side conditions, including the ever-increasing socio-economic and welfare precarities of the post-industrial working class, and profound social transformations associated with processes of globalisation and mass migration, the BNP successfully allied a drive for modernisation and professionalization within the party to an effective appeal to important sections of the white ‘have nots’ directly on the basis of the latter’s sense of resentment at the ‘unfairness’ of their position in the own national home. Such resentment, and the invocations of ‘unfairness’ that are its necessary bedfellow, constitute what has usefully been conceptualised as ‘white backlash’. As an extreme right, ultra-nationalist party, the BNP belongs to a party family commonly referred to as ‘Männerparteien’ (men’s parties), on account of the predominance of men in their leadership, membership and support base. But this rendition may also contribute to a failure to recognise the important role played by women in such organisations. Drawing on semi-structured interviews, this paper explores how resentment and ‘unfairness’, as key features of the ‘white backlash’, become gendered in the hands of women supporters of the BNP, and deployed as a tool for signifying and pathologising the specific presence of Islam and Muslims in the UK as a direct threat to gender-related justice and equality.
Mulholland, J. (2018). Gendering the ‘White Backlash’: Islam, patriarchal ‘unfairness’, and the defence of women’s rights amongst women supporters of the British National Party (BNP). In E. Sanders-McDonagh, J. Mulholland, & N. Montagna (Eds.), Gendering Nationalism: Intersections of Nation, Gender and Sexuality, (165-185). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76699-7