Race and Racism in Britain Review

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Book Review

John Solomos
Race and Racism in Britain (1993)
Reviewed by Simon Buchler

Upon reading the first three paragraphs of the introduction, the aims of this book are clearly marked out. John Solomos, professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton, tells the reader almost immediately that his goals are firstly to provide an analysis of ‘race and racism in contemporary Britain' (p.1) and secondly evaluate key aspects of the ‘racialisation of political life and social relations' (p.1) in British society. This provides the reader with a clearer understanding as to the direction of the discussions and arguments sparked by the author.

Whether intentional or not however, this book was published at a very pivotal era in the politics of race and racism in Britain. In 1993, the Asylum and Immigration (Appeals) Act came into place, allowing a greater number of political asylum seekers to be considered for immigration. This led Race and Racism in Britain being a book very relevant to the times in which it was set, making it a very useful and necessary book for those planning on studying this topic. Solomos also manages to relate racism in Britain to that in ‘Contempory Europe' (p.5), providing the reader with modern-day examples to refer back to allowing a better prospective.

The chapter which I am reviewing is entitled ‘Race, Policing and Disorder' and focuses predominantly on the role that policing has played in public debate about racial issue since the early 1970s. With reference to crime, violence and social unrest, the chapter shows how over time the imagery of ethnic involvement in criminal activities and in public order offences have helped to change the direction of the ever ‘volatile debate about race relations' (p.128). I believe this angle of discussion is one which really needs touching on as the public's perception of criminals doesn't always relate to facts and figures but more often than not goes on race,...
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