Between 1948 and 1971 immigrants to the UK from Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean became known as the ‘Windrush Generation’, a term taken from the first ship carrying Caribbean immigrants, the Empire Windrush. Blazing a trail for modern multiculturalism, this generation has recently been subject of a deportation scandal that has engulfed the UK government. We take a look at 10 dissertation topics on the Windrush Generation focusing on politics and sociology.
1) The Windrush Generation – an historical overview of how Caribbean immigrants have shaped British popular culture.
The Windrush Generation helped shape modern British ideas of multiculturalism, which in turn has shaped the popular culture of the UK. This dissertation aims to examine and discuss the domains in which Caribbean culture has influenced and become a part of the cultural landscape of Britain throughout the past 60 years.
Source: Bidnall, A., 2017. The West Indian Generation: Remaking British Culture in London, 1945-1965 (Vol. 7). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2) New country, new identities? Examining the loss and rebuilding of personal identities within the Windrush Generation.
Emigrating to a new country, as the Windrush Generation did in the period 1948-1971 and forging new individual and communal identities necessitates the casting off of old identities and cultural practices. This dissertation would examine the processes involved in forging new identities in a new land, using sociological and psychological literature to provide experiences from the past, and lessons for the future.
Source: Ovaroh-Holt, D.W., 2018. Representation, Immigration, Experience, and Memory. In: Abidde, S. & Gill, B. (eds.) Africans and the Exiled Life: Migration, Culture, and Globalization. Lanham: Lexington Books, pp. 221-248.
3) You’re not welcome here: how are changes in racist discourse related to instances of large scale migration?
The Windrush Generation, was one of the first, widely publicised instances of large scale migration to the UK. During this time period, racist language in public discourse surged, culminating in Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech in 1968. This dissertation would examine the nature and propensity of racist or anti-immigrant feelings in the UK, cross-referenced to periods of immigration such as the Windrush Generation in the mid 20th century and European immigration in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Source: Tomlinson, S., 2018. Enoch Powell, empires, immigrants and education. Race Ethnicity and Education, 21(1), pp.1-14.
4) Societal attitudes to mixed-race families in the UK since the time of Windrush.
With the influx of the Windrush Generation to the UK, perceptions of mixed race couples evolved from taboo to the norm over time. Whilst mixed-race couples experienced considerable discrimination, UK attitudes were seen as progressive compared to those elsewhere, such as the USA. This dissertation would examine the evolution of these attitudes during and beyond the time of Windrush Generation, using other countries’ own attitudes to interracial relationships to compare and contrast with those of the UK.
Source: Webb, C., 2017. Special Relationships: mixed-race couples in post-war Britain and the United States. Women’s History Review, 26(1), pp.110-129.
5) The next generation: How does being descended from Windrush immigrants impact upon views of ‘Britishness?’
Descendants of the Windrush generation share a heritage unique to British society. Whilst it is accepted that identities and opinions are shaped by both the past and the present day, to what extent does being a descendent of the Windrush Generation shape notions of Britishness and British values? This dissertation would seek to explore how these notions are formulated and explained in a sample of Windrush descendants. Comparisons of these ideals across 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation descendants could also be applied.
Source: Julios, C., 2017. Contemporary British Identity: English Language, Migrants and Public Discourse. Aldershot: Ashgate.
6) The post-World War Two wave of immigration from the Caribbean Basin and the rise of multicultural Britain
This dissertation will examine the way in which the migration from the Afro-Caribbean Basin since the end of World War Two established the foundations for a political compact based on the tolerance for multicultural diversity. This dissertation will argue that this political compact arose as a result of the successful integration of this social group into British society and the country’s history of extensive commercial links with the wider world.
Source: Wills, C., 2017. Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain. Penguin Books: London
7) The Windrush generation and the consolidation of a “civic” concept of British nationalism
This dissertation will argue that the arrival of migrants from the Caribbean Basin after the end of World War Two has been responsible for the entrenchment of a “civic” concept of nationalism in Britain. The civic concept of British nationalism is not sustained by ethnic links. Instead, thanks to the arrival of migrants from geographical locales that were formerly part of the British Empire, the civic concept of nationalism is underscored by making reference to civic values shared by all members of society.
Source: Storry, M., and Childs, P., 2016. British Cultural Identities. Routledge: London.
8) The Windrush scandal and the recreation of economic and political ties with the Commonwealth
This dissertation will look at the way in which the recent Windrush scandal may become an opportunity to examine the past scheme of relations with the countries of the Caribbean Basin. At the same time, this dissertation will argue that the level of publicity about the plight of several members of the Windrush generation represents an opportunity to establish more assiduous commercial links with that area of the world; particularly in the aftermath of the exiting of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
Source: Phillips, M. and Phillips, T., 2017. Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain. HarperCollins: London.
9) The Windrush generation and the reformulation of the social compact in Britain
This dissertation looks at the historical experience of the Windrush generation and the manner in which Britain responded to the challenge of establishing a modicum of social cohesion by articulating a political and legal framework aimed at creating equitable relations between the different ethnic groups. This dissertation will look at the extent to which the promulgation of legislation on race relations since the late 1960s contributed to eliminate the spectrum of institutionalised racism in the United Kingdom
Source: Campbell, K., 2017. A History of the British Isles: Prehistory to the Present. Bloomsbury Academic: London
10) The Windrush generation and the political and social challenges of multiculturalism
This dissertation will outline a historical analysis of the social and political challenges that affect the population of ethnic origin in Britain, comparing the historical experience of the Windrush generation to the situation that has arisen in the country as a result of the recent nativist turn. In recent times, there has been a cultural backlash against ethnic minorities, prompted by the decision of the electorate to exit the European Union. In this context, there will be an analysis of the extent to which multiculturalism continues to be one of the values that guides the scheme of social relations in the United Kingdom.
Source: Pathak, P., 2017 The Future of Multicultural Britain: Confronting the Progressive Dilemma. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.