The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice

The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice

The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice

The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice

Synopsis

It isn't uncommon to hear now that race hardly matters anymore--that we've somehow gotten beyond it. In the face of such pronouncements, and the misconceptions that prompt them, this book aims to show precisely why and how race has always been, and remains, absolutely fundamental to modern politics. Howard Winant, one of the leading sociologists of race and ethnicity working today, clearly locates race at the crossroads of identity and social structure, where difference frames inequality and where political processes operate with a comprehensiveness that ranges from the world-historical to the intimately psychological. "The New Politics of Race brings together Winant's new and previously published essays to form a comprehensive picture of the origins and nature of the complex racial politics that engulf us today. It is only in light of the post-World War II patterns of racial insurgency and reform that these politics can be understood, Winant asserts. His work offers a thorough grounding in thesepatterns, describing the breakdown of a certain racial order after World War II and identifying the ways in which racial hierarchies everywhere are being reestablished and reenergized, often in clandestine, or at least unfamiliar, forms. Theoretically acute and empirically sound, his essays deftly analyze the character of racial formations in a world that is, on the surface, deeply committed to eradicating racism.

Excerpt

Race is fundamental in modern politics. Race is situated at the crossroads of identity and social structure, where difference frames inequality, and where political processes operate with a comprehensiveness that ranges from the world historical to the intrapsychic. Always flexible and fungible, yet also always present since the inception of the “modern world-system” (c. 1500 CE), the system of racial classification has been invoked for half a millennium in the service both of domination and resistance.

Since the rise of Europe and the dawn of the capitalist era, there has been a continuous tendency, arguably a necessity, to organize and signify domination along the lines of corporeality/“phenotype.” and since there is no domination without resistance, across half a millennium race has become a trope for the unfinished agendas of egalitarianism, democratization, and cultural pluralism. Not only was the concept of race born with modernity, not only was the meaning of race a preoccupation of the Enlightenment, but the racial practices of the modern age—slavery and imperial conquest, as well as abolitionism and anticolonialism—shaped all the social structures we take for granted today. the accumulation of capital, the organization of the labor process, the construction of the modern nation-state, the rise of movements for popular sovereignty, and our very understandings of cultural and personal identity were all fashioned in the global racial workshop that is modern history.

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