Martin Bulmer and John Solomos
Race and racism have become foci of interest in the social sciences. In the past two decades there has been a noticeable expansion in scholarship and research about race and racism in contemporary societies. This has been reflected in a growing body of theoretical and empirically based work on various facets of race and racism in both contemporary societies and historical periods. Although much of this research has historically been located within the discipline of sociology, a notable feature of recent trends has been the growth of research in disciplines such as anthropology, politics, geography, media and cultural studies, law and the humanities (Bulmer and Solomos 1999b; Goldberg and Solomos 2002). In addition to this rapid transformation of scholarly research we have seen a notable growth in the teaching of courses about race relations, racism and ethnicity and nationalism at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This has created a demand for student-focused texts on questions about race and racism, and this demand has led to a growing body of scholarship and research-based monographs on both historical and contemporary patterns of racism and ethnic relations. What is also clear, however, is that there is still a dearth of texts that explore the methodological aspects raised by research in this field. This absence has only partly been remedied by the appearance of a number of studies in recent years that focus on this dimension (Stanfield 1993; Twine and Warren 2000; Ratcliffe 2001; Gunaratnam 2003). In this environment there has been a relative dearth of reflection and debate on the range of methodological problems and dilemmas that confront those engaged in research in relation to the history and contemporary forms of racism and racial relations.
It is with this situation in mind that we set about bringing together a number of both established and up-and-coming scholars who have carried out research in this field to reflect on various aspects of the methodologies they have used and the dilemmas they have faced in developing their research. Researching Race and Racism is the outcome of this endeavour and is held together by a series of narratives based on researcher's everyday experiences and a smaller number of papers that reflect on broader methodological and research dilemmas. We asked all the authors we invited