Changes in British society, including mass immigration, the recruitment of new workers from the West Indies and a rise in mixed-race relationships, contributed to the growth of multiculturalism after the Second World War, ensuring that post-war fiction came increasingly to address issues of race, ethnicity and mixed-race relationships. In his discussion of the development of the British novel between 1950 and 2000, Dominic Head has commented on the complex questions of identity and national affiliation at the end of empire, in which fiction ‘has proved to be a fruitful site for investigating the hybridised cultural forms that might be produced in an evolving, and so genuinely, multicultural Britain’.1 Hybridity, referring to the process of the mixing of races theorised by Homi Bhabha, becomes a key concern, but though it can sometimes be celebratory, ‘the migrant identities that are fictionalised in post-war writing are often embattled and vulnerable’.2 Large-scale post-war migration and xenophobia influenced notions of national identity; as Mark Stein has written, ‘black British authors record both a confrontation between their protagonists and Britain, its institutions, its people, and some of the strategies that were employed in this situation’.3 In his discussion of the politics of recognition, Charles Taylor4 contends that racial identity needs to be recognised, acknowledged in its diversity and difference, to combat the process of ‘othering’, which marginalises those who do not fit easily into conceptions of whiteness.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The British Short Story Today
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number