Race, Identity and Belonging: A Soundings Collection

Race, Identity and Belonging: A Soundings Collection

Race, Identity and Belonging: A Soundings Collection

Race, Identity and Belonging: A Soundings Collection

Synopsis

This is the first in a series of Soundings books. It brings together a collection of the best of recent work on race and identity in Soundings, and includes a new introductory essay. Themes covered include multiculturalism and segregation; young people and gun crime; British identity and melancholia; conviviality; identity and belonging; and, cosmopolitanism and institutional racism. Contributors include: Zygmunt Bauman, Farhad Dalal, Paul Gilroy, Bilkis Malek, Tariq Modood, Roshi Naidoo, Amir Saeed, George Shire, Ejos Ubiribo, Patrick Wright, and Nira Yuval-Davis.

Excerpt

The essays in this book all have a history. They are pieces of work triggered off by different events, issues and concerns, with different things to say about the moment we are now in. I would argue that that moment is characterised by the insistence, by Britain and the United States in particular, on a variant of neoliberalism in which the idea of equality has disappeared from the lexicon; and it is also characterised by the way in which the salient of race or racialisation marks the discussion in particular ways. Racism is not what it used to be, and ideas of ‘race’, and racisms and anti-racisms, are in constant motion. Some of these essays help us to see how these ideas have functioned in the moment of neoliberalism, both internationally and locally. They point to the need for critical readings of our time; and they contribute to a greater understanding of the ways in which the white axis of power operates. They address some of the ways it transforms and reforms social relations through racial categories and consciousness, by calling attention to the particularities of racialisations as they mutate and take on new ground.

Race today is inflected in substantively different ways from what was going on fifteen or twenty years ago, and the hierarchy of race is delivered in different forms. This is true at the national and local level as well as globally. Within a neoliberal framework people are seen as individualised, atomised, disconnected. Thus, for example, the meaning that equality had in social democratic left discourse has been replaced by the notion of inclusion and exclusion, and it is framed as a question about individuals. Liberal individualism provides the underpinning for a legalistic understanding of racism, as a transgression of rights to which a person is entitled. However this juridical approach is unable . . .

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