SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Why aren’t we talking about political assassinations? Race, borders, and the murder of Jo Cox

Dr Hannah Jones (Warwick)

Date: 22 November 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 22 November 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar

On 16th June 2016, a week before the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, British MP Jo Cox was assassinated in the street. Cox was a campaigner for Remain, and for Syrian refugees. Her attacker was reported to have shouted slogans of the far-right, anti-immigrant, racist and nationalist group Britain First. Cox’s husband described her death as ‘a political act’, and promoted a message from her maiden speech to Parliament: ‘we have far more in common than the things that divide us’. This all took place in a context where people were dying every day attempting to reach expected safety in the UK, while many UK residents were made to feel increasingly unsafe or unwelcome.

EU Leave campaigners attempted to silence discussion of the politics of Cox’s death in the days and weeks that followed. Less shockingly, but perhaps more dangerous because of that, the use of #MoreInCommon as an anti-racist slogan invoking her life and death produces a particular form of non-confrontational politics which does not seem to address the causes of this crime, and its significance.

This paper will consider whether having things ‘in common’ can be enough to counter a politics of hate. I will consider how the bureaucratisation of a brutal migration regime is linked to how commonality and difference have been constructed in the racialized politics of nation, and suggest a way of reimagining traditional nationalist tropes of blood and belonging in non-essentialist ways through a queer politics of connection.

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Dr Hannah Jones Why aren’t we talking about political assassinations? Race, borders, and the murder of Jo Cox

About the speaker

Dr Hannah Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She is a co-author of ‘Go Home? The politics of immigration controversies’ (2017, Manchester University Press), which examined the effects of UK government communications about immigration control. She is also co-editor of ‘Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location’ (2014, Routledge) and author of ‘Negotiating cohesion, inequality and change: Uncomfortable positions in local government’ (2013, Policy Press). Hannah researches, writes, and teaches on questions of racism, attitudes to migration and belonging, creative and collaborative research methods, and policy-making. Hannah has a particular interest and expertise in collaborative policy-relevant research, working across academia and civil society.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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