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Policing black film: racism, black resistance and the applicational dexterity of race relations in Babylon

Nwonka, Clive James (2021) Policing black film: racism, black resistance and the applicational dexterity of race relations in Babylon. Sociology, 55 (4). 840 - 862. ISSN 0038-0385

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0038038520985793


The racial unrests permeating across Britain in the late 1970s resulted in a set of political agendas responding to racism to be brought into being though legislation, culminating in the passing of the 1976 Race Relations Act. Crucial to such agendas were strategies for the prevention of black urban uprisings against state authority and the politicisation of black youths against racism. The emergence of politicised black British film during the late 1970s offered a crucial counter-hegemonic exploration and re-enactment of an extra-filmic reality of police violence and popular racism within the British body social. However, these texts were subjected to forms of political censorship through a number of state organisations who identified radical black cinema as a political threat with the potential to incite violent responses from black youths. This article will offer a detailed analysis of Babylon (1980) and seeks to investigate the ideological processes leading to its X certification and the moral panic located in its representations of black youths within the crisis of race vis-a-vis the political, social and cultural authority of race relations, situating Babylon’s controversial X certification as an exemplar of the ‘applicational dexterity’ of the race relations discipline.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 13:39
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 01:30

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