Cover image for New right, new racism : race and reaction in the United States and Britain
New right, new racism : race and reaction in the United States and Britain
Ansell, Amy Elizabeth, 1964-
Publication Information:
Washington Square, N.Y. : New York University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
xi, 351 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185 .A496 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Political opinion in the United States and Great Britain has, over the course of the last two decades, shifted unmistakably to the right, with people from all parts of the political spectrum forced to adapt or fail. A new breed of right-wing politicians-- here termed the New Right by Amy Ansell-- has succeeded in shifting the ideological agendas in both countries. The result has been the creation of a new climate of public opinion deeply hostile to the consensus of liberal egalitarianism that had marked the political climate of the post-war era.

In Race and Reaction, Ansell explores the ways in which the New Right has used panic-inspiring symbols, many subtly slanted to play to race-based anxieties, to make the case for its traditional values and policies. The fears they raise serve both to divert public attention from on-going structural inequalities and injustices, and to present the New Right as a defender of all that is good and pure.

The first book to look at the symbolic war behind America and Britain's move to the right, Ansell documents her study with references to a wide selection of primary materials from both countries--including interviews with key New Right leaders, as well as speeches, pamphlets, laws, and position papers, and by closely examining the language contained therein. In a climate where overt racism is no longer permissible, Ansell argues, the New Right has succeeded in using symbolism directly tied to race to make the case for its policies.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Ansell's book is a richly detailed account of the origins and development of the New Right over the last quarter of a century in both Britain and the US. Ansell offers a meticulously crafted and copiously referenced analysis of how the New Right movements in both countries have achieved political hegemony in the Gramscian sense of gaining power through the skillful, symbolic manipulation of public opinion in an effort to achieve conservative political ends. Her "symbolic conflict approach" focuses on how the New Right has served as a catalyst to link popular backlash sentiments to racist social policy programs without ever evoking explicit racial referents. From her own "progressive" (read left-of-center) perspective, Ansell painstakingly deconstructs the "key categories of meaning" employed by New Right ideologues to reveal the racist underpinnings supporting their analyses of popular social issues like crime, immigration, welfare, and equal opportunity. This book deserves wide attention as a major contribution to the understanding of the chameleon-like historical dynamics of race and racism. All levels. W. P. Nye; Hollins University