1.introduction The monograph Ilooked at was Hilary Pilkington’s Loud and Proud, which looked at the ‘rise ofnew ‘far right’ and ‘populist radical right’ across Europe’. From intentlyreading this monograph the research question I gained was what are thestructural factors that allow these ‘fascist’ groups to grow? The social implicationsof the EDL on society is that it creates a bigger divide between what is seenas ‘white British’ or non-Muslim and those who do carry out the teachings ofIslam. It creates tensions between these people as well by portraying one groupas not as welcome compared to those who were born here. By reading I observed that the aims andobjectives of this monograph was to paint the EDL in a new light. From seeingthem as stereotypical ‘drunken racist football hooligans’ to individualsfighting for a cause and change in their country. In this monograph, thearguments made were that there were reasons behind the members joining and itwasn’t all based on being ‘racist’ and violent football fans like the mediaportrayed them to be.
This was supported by Hilary looking deeper into thelives of the members. By telling their stories it allowed us as readers to gaininsight into why they would join. The author was able to turn a sociologicalproblem, the growth of far-right movements into a research question, what arethe structural factors that allow these ‘fascist’ groups to grow? By…………….. theway the author began the research was by digging into what is the EDL exactlyand getting in contact with the people who are part of it.
2.onqualitative methodology and/ methodin this monograph,ethnographic research methods were used such as participant observations.Hilary Pilkington, got involved with the people of the EDL and observed them intheir own environments and ‘in the context of their daily lives’.
The use ofthis method was appropriate and successful as it allowed the researcher to bemore emotional involved with the participants as well as them feeling more comfortablesince the observations were in line with how they go about their everyday lives,which would lead to more reliable findings as participants would be more likelyto open up as a result of feeling comfortable and at ease with the observationtaking place. Participants would also feel this way due to the researchertaking part as well, of course not to the extent of the EDL members butattending EDL demos, protests, marches, divisional meetings, ‘informal socialoccasions’ as well as the crown court trial of two respondents, this allowedthe members being observed to be even more contented as this was someone whowas trying to conduct their research in accordance of how they live. It wasmentioned in the monograph that the researcher attended more demos than someactual members. Interviews were also used by Pilkington in her research. It washighlighted that individuals were approached for an interview ‘either followingcontact with them at demonstrations or after an initial approach by a keyinformant’ the interviews were more unstructured and open ended as she placedemphasis on how they were ‘conducted like conversations’. This method was relevantand effective as it allowed the researcher to collect a generous amount ofqualitative data due to how open it was. The interview included six ‘broadthemes’ which allowed the researcher to collect necessary data that related tothe aims and objectives of the study but keeping it more laidback andcomfortable for the interviewee so that they don’t feel pressured orintimidated into answering in a certain way.
It also allowed the researcher tocollect data around other topics that they may have not considered before whichwould permit them to look into and even open up a discussion surrounding that.The methodology used in this study in terms of how the researcher approached itis objectively. It is argued that not a lot of people carry out qualitativeresearch on far-right groups because of how problematic the theme is. Researchersacknowledge the disapproval of these groups and so unconsciously have a ‘lackof sympathy’. The use of the researcher to use the methods that she did I thinkhas allowed her to produce a strong qualitative piece of work. Interviews andobservations as well as audio and visual recordings which have been transcribedby the author, has created a piece of research that is strong for whatPilkington is trying to understand. Becker’sTelling society explained that every way of telling a story is perfect in itsown way, for its particular purpose.
He highlights that ‘there is no best wayto tell a story’ (p.285). telling society encourages us to have a deeper lookinto the methods that sociologists use to present knowledge such as photographsand statistical tables and any other way they have used these methods to ‘tellothers what they know about their society’. This is known as “representationsof society”. The way that Hillary ‘tells society’ is through her photographsthat she has included in the monograph. These images allow you to feel moreengaged in the research as you can put a face to the people of the EDL. it’tells society’ by showing us what individuals in that society are like, howthey live their life and what being part of a community like the EDL entails.Photographs such as EDL members at demos, holding the saint George’s cross andso forth alongside a piece of writing about their life, stories about why theyjoined and more information about happenings in the images really gives thereader a perception of what EDL life is and the lives of those who are part ofit.
The stories that the authortranscribes of the EDL members as to why they joined and how they grew up, tellus who they are and why they are doing this. As Becker says that it gives us a’picture that is only partial but nevertheless adequate for some purpose”. Thesestories and reports shape how we view the social by altering our perceptions.
For example, when we think of the EDL we automatically deem them as racist andbigoted which would lead us to then not view them as people with emotions withbackstories but just as people whose views are not in line with ours. However,when the author now tells us these stories we begin to humanise them as we seethey have been through tragic situations and childhoods, and may even start tounderstand why it has lead them to join a movement such as the EDL. We begin tosee the society in which the EDL exists as ‘like us’ in a way and start to haveempathy for them. 3.
thesociological imaginationthe socialrelevance of this monograph is that it is bringing up current anxieties, onething in our society that is existing is racism and islamophobia. Especiallyislamophobia with the rise of media depicting immigrants as threats and hidingit in a way that does not seem to be racist. This creates a hysteria towardsthe idea of ‘outsiders’. These anxieties leave room for far right groups togrow such as the EDL. this matters as these are problems that effect minoritiescurrently in our society, a number of Muslims may feel uncomfortable andapprehensive being in a country where they are not welcome.
The EDL emphasisesthat they are not racist and if anything, just islamophobic, however it is arguedthey show hostility towards Asians which is a ‘race’. The assumption that amajority of Asians are Muslims leads to a contradiction. The targeting of onegroup and their religion is going to concern those who identify with the group.In this monograph, the author highlights private troubles and showed how theyare made into public issues. By splitting the EDL activists into subheadingssuch as age, gender and sexuality etc. and then explaining how it relates backto the an EDL member and then wider society. For example, Declan, a homosexualmale who had joined the BNP when he was 13 (2005) due to the fact that hisparents were also BNP members. He left in 2009 because they were not open tohis sexuality, so he joined the EDL because he ‘found it more open towards himas a young gay man’.
The private trouble is the fact that Declan did not feelaccepted by a group that he had been apart of for 4 years because of hissexuality. This is turned in to a public issue by the author as it highlights thefact that sexuality is seen as unacceptable in religion as it is stated thatthe reason why Declan is against Islam as it stated that ‘gays should be takento the top of the mountain and thrown off’. And the idea that homosexuality isstill not accepted in our society today. Another example is Connor who when theauthor first interviewed him at 15 was neither in education or employment. Hisprivate trouble was the fact he was unemployed and was not able to get backinto education due to the fact that the school he attended closed down andother institutions around the area failed to accommodate him because he was anEDL supporter. This is made into a public issue by the author as it highlightsthe high unemployed and early school leaving age rate of those who are part offar right groups.
Pilkington included pie charts showing that 49% of EDL memberswere unemployed. This is showing that the public issue of increase of white Britishworking class individuals being unemployed. It is highlighted in the monographthat many EDL members blame immigrants for their lack of a job since they feelthey are taking all the jobs that are ‘mean for British people’. Thisfrustration has been the reason for many white British working class peoplejoining far right groups. Other problems and issues uncovered in the monographis where can u see the authors sociologicalimagination at work?Add a quote from social imaginationin this monograph,the author used other concepts and theories to develop and explore herarguments this is also known as her theoretical framework. In chapter 1 theauthor was stating that there may be methodological issues when It comes tostudying far right groups because of the ‘disapproving tone to lack ofsympathy’. This leads to a clash between positivist and verstehen methodologyas well as interpretivist approaches having the same tone even though they arewell established in the social science. Pilkington uses Blee as well to supporther claim that they will be ‘more than methodological issues at stake’.
To dothis she uses a quote, few academics ‘want to invest the considerable time orto establish the rapport necessary for close-up studies of those they regard asinexplicable and repugnant, in addition to dangerous and difficult’. In chapter2 Hillary mentions on page 42 about the hierarchal structure of the EDL. Theidea is that the EDL are different from other right-wing groups since theydon’t have a ‘leader’. She states that right wing and populist parties usuallyhave a hierarchy in their groups were the males are leaders and ‘exploit moderntrends of the political profession to perfection’ this statement she has usedhas been credited as from Wodak.
Pilkington has used this as a way to build upher evidence of how there is usually a hierarchy structure in far-right groups 3.ethicalpracticein thismonograph when it comes to ethical issues something that I witnessed was theauthors relationships with the participants. Due to the circumstance that shewas observing and attending these EDL related events more frequently than othermembers she found herself getting close to the participants. She mentioned thaton their way to Walthamstow a member called Jack caught her when she nearlyfell on the tube and found her a spot to stand. When she had to pay for thecoach to travel to a demo abroad, Kurt who is unemployed payed for her. When shehad experienced verbal abuse by a member from another division, Rachel and Lisatold the guy to back off.
When jack at his trial had to make an important decisionabout his plea the author sits with him. Situations like these make it harderfor the researcher to stay objective in their research because they arebeginning to build a close relationship with the members. This is an ethicalissue as it plays with the emotions of the research participants, as humanbeings when we feel ourselves getting closer to someone we tend to share morewith them unlike complete strangers. Due to the author, continuously beingpresent some of the research participants may have unconsciously forgotten thatthey were part of a study and may have viewed her as an actual member of theEDL. The researcher may view their relationship with the participants as ‘doingtheir job’ but these individuals may see the researcher as a friend. This canlead to the participants sharing emotional, personal incidents that they wouldnever normally tell anyone who they were not close to based on the fact theyfeel like they have really formed a bond with the researcher.
In terms of how ethicalconcerns are managed key places such as pubs which would be used for EDLmeetings were anonymised to protect the owners from threats. Interviews anddiary entries were also anonymised so that key respondents were mentioned usingpseudonyms. Any family or friends that were mentioned in the book were removed aswell as references to places that could expose any personal information aboutthe respondents. The use of these techniques means that appropriate measureswere taken to store research data in a secure manner, as the ‘link between dataand identifiable individuals will be harder to break. The author carrying out these procedures isalso part of their professional integrity. As the BSA statement of ethicalpractice states ‘sociologists have a responsibility both to safeguard theproper interests of those involved in or affected by their work’.
By hidingcertain information this helps protect the participants from violence or aggressionthat could occur to them especially since they are part of a problematicmovement. When it comes to how far the anonymity and confidentiality of participantsplays a part in the study the anonymization of diary entries, names, locationsetc. do provide a level of confidentiality and privacy. However, we can arguethat the incorporation (593) photos and (130) video clips that expose the facesof members does not promote this anonymity.
4.conclusionto end this monograph had its strengths andweaknesses, the research conducted allowed the reader to see the EDL in adifferent light. By the author conducting her observation inside the groupunlike numerous number of researchers who avoid looking into far-rightmovements or tend to distance themselves by using self- complete questionnairesetc. with these sorts of methods you are unable to gain a true insight on thebeliefs of that group, so the author using the methods she did truly worked andallowed us to understand the beliefs and stories of the EDL and its members. Havingsaid that as a reader you can feel a sense of biasness playing a part in the research.I feel like the author was trying to prove that the EDL were not how the media portraythem to be. The continual attempt to prove that the EDL were open to all andthe only problem they head were with Islam as a religion can me shown throughoutthe monograph. The idea that we can’t be that bad if we have a gay division, afemale division and other ‘races’ apart of our movement.
This monograph highlightedrelevant concepts such as multiculturalism and the debate on if being anti-multiculturalismis racist. In the monograph, you see EDL members stating that multiculturalism isa good thing whereas individuals discussing that multiculturalism is ‘destroyingdiversity’. In conclusion, this monograph was strong to an extent, in terms of researchthe author put a lot of thought into how they were going to conduct the study. Theincorporation of images, interviews, diary entries etc. made this piece of researchincredibly strong.
I feel that the author made their aims and objectives whichmeans that overall that this book was strong.