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C-SAP teaching resources: Teaching race and ethnicity theoretical overview


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This resource was produced as part of C-SAP's project "Teaching Race and Ethnicity" by Dr Stephen Spencer from Sheffield Hallam University.

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C-SAP teaching resources: Teaching race and ethnicity theoretical overview

  1. 1. Race & Ethnicity
  2. 3. Structural Inequalities <ul><li>What percentage of population? </li></ul><ul><li>Approx 10% </li></ul><ul><li>Educational disadvantage –African Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Pakistani </li></ul><ul><li>Unemployment rates 2 or 3 times that of white group – even when well qualified </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to live in social housing, and in poor over-crowded conditions. </li></ul>
  3. 4. Race & Ethnicity <ul><li>‘ Race’: 'socially defined but on the basis of physical criteria.‘ </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnicity: 'socially defined but on the basis of cultural criteria' Van den Berghe, 1967: 9 in Goldberg, 1992, 553 </li></ul><ul><li>‘ For social boundaries to be actively maintained, they need to be continually validated, and this requires regular interaction with members of out groups’ ( Frederick Barth, 1969, Ethnic Groups and Social Boundaries ) </li></ul>
  4. 5. Race – ‘shifting signifier’ <ul><li>Race – said to be a social invention </li></ul><ul><li>does not have a fixed referent </li></ul><ul><li>At different times has been associated with species divide, religious belief, class, nation, citizenship, culture, ethnicity </li></ul><ul><li>Consider notions of ‘breeding’ and eugenicist views </li></ul>
  5. 7. Instrumental or Primordial? <ul><li>Ethnicity as a resource to be used in times of competition. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnicity and race as deep-seated and relatively fixed </li></ul>
  6. 8. Marxism & Race <ul><li>Marx recognised that racism – the divide and rule of colonialism prevented a united working class opposing the bourgeoisie </li></ul><ul><li>Race is not a primary category of analysis </li></ul><ul><li>But serves as a convenient tool of capitalism which will wither away when economic reality is recognised, </li></ul><ul><li>or a mask which serves to obscure true relations of power in a society, which are, in fact, class-based. </li></ul>
  7. 9. Neo-Weberian <ul><li>Rational Choice theory – </li></ul><ul><li>‘ race relations’ approach - the work of John Rex and Michael Banton </li></ul><ul><li>Complex matrix of factors – class, status, economic and cultural factors, patterns of consumption, stereotypes, forms of representation etc… </li></ul>
  8. 10. Neo-Marxists <ul><li>1. Relative Autonomy Model (Hall, 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>class and ‘race’ should be examined together. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Autonomy Model (Gabriel and Ben-Tovim, 1979) </li></ul><ul><li>racism cannot be reduced to class conflict </li></ul><ul><li>3. Migrant Labour Model (Miles & Phizacklea </li></ul><ul><li>“ Race is an idea which should be explicitly and consistently confined to the dustbin of analytically useless terms.”(Miles, 1984:42 in Solomos p8). </li></ul>
  9. 11. Pierre Bourdieu <ul><li>concept of 'habitus', grounded in material conditions and experience </li></ul><ul><li>struggle for ‘symbolic dominance’ </li></ul><ul><li>the habitus is a reflexive, generative structure </li></ul><ul><li>a useful tool to look at cases of inter-ethnic differences, alienation, and conflict </li></ul><ul><li>which are in a state of constant adjustment and negotiation. </li></ul>
  10. 12. Black Feminism <ul><li>Historically profound connection between gender, sexuality and race </li></ul><ul><li>Sojourner Truth: “...aint I a woman?” highlights the ‘double burden’ : sexism and racism </li></ul><ul><li>Feminism recognised processes which are equally applicable to racialised groups: </li></ul><ul><li>Erasure, Denial, Invisibility, Tokenism </li></ul><ul><li>critique of White feminism </li></ul>
  11. 13. Postmodernism & Race <ul><li>End of ‘grand narratives’ of history </li></ul><ul><li>Advent of Identity politics </li></ul><ul><li>Depoliticised, factionalised </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on representation rather than ideology </li></ul><ul><li>Relativism and ‘differences’ rather than universalism and ‘equal’ rights </li></ul>
  12. 14. Genocide and Postmodernism
  13. 16. Race & Media slave figure Clown figures Rising Middle class non-threatening blaxploitation genre
  14. 17. Race & Television
  15. 18. Four Key Themes in Racial Representation <ul><li>exotic </li></ul><ul><li>dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>humorous </li></ul><ul><li>pitied </li></ul><ul><li>(Alvarado et al. 1987: 153) </li></ul>
  16. 22. The Circuit of Culture <ul><li>Production </li></ul><ul><li>Consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Representation </li></ul>
  17. 25. Dominant white discourses: Romantic, Anthropological, Literary and Racist An imagined indigenous idyll The reality is often life in harsh and squalid urban camps – as below in Darwin
  18. 26. Moral Panics <ul><li>described as a condition, episode, person or group of persons which emerge to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests (Cohen, 1972, p.9). </li></ul><ul><li>1970s the image of the black mugger </li></ul><ul><li>1980s – image of rioter </li></ul><ul><li>1990s – gangsta, gun crimes etc </li></ul><ul><li>2000s – Media focus shifts to Muslims </li></ul>
  19. 28. Politics and Race
  20. 29. Multiculturalism <ul><li>What does it mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal state – integration around a dominant culture – or complex negotiation between many cultures? </li></ul><ul><li>Trevor Philips of CRE recent reversal over multiculturalism </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Sleepwalking towards segregation.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Relativism V Universalism arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Identity Politics V struggle against inequality </li></ul>
  21. 30. + + = MULTICULTURALISM Steel Bands Samosas Saris
  22. 31. Identity politics <ul><li>Criticised by left-leaning analysts as capitulation to cultural criticism </li></ul><ul><li>in place of analysis of the material roots of oppression </li></ul><ul><li>factionalizing and depoliticizing </li></ul><ul><li>dominance of symbolic over material </li></ul>
  23. 32. Too Diverse? Multicultural Debate <ul><li>Kenan Malik responds: </li></ul><ul><li>“ the real problem is not a surfeit of strangers in our midst but the abandonment over the past two decades of ideologically based politics for a politics of identity... </li></ul><ul><li>The result has been the fragmentation of society as different groups assert their particular identities - and the creation of a well of resentment within white working class communities who feel left out.” </li></ul>
  24. 33. Bibliography <ul><li>Bronowski, J (1973) The Ascent of Man, BBC books </li></ul><ul><li>Goldberg D. T. and Solomos J.(eds) 2002, A Companion to racial and ethnic studies, Oxford, Blackwell </li></ul><ul><li>Goldberg D.T. (1993) Racist Culture, Blackwell </li></ul><ul><li>Goldberg D.T. (Ed) 1994, Multiculturalism, a Critical Reader, Blackwell. </li></ul><ul><li>Goodhart, David ‘Too diverse’ February 2004 Available online at: </li></ul><ul><li>Hall, S (2000) The Multicultural Question, Political Economy Research Centre, Lecture, transcript available on - </li></ul><ul><li>Hall, S. et al. (1978), Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order, Macmillan, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Jenkins R (1997) Rethinking Ethnicity : arguments and explorations, Sage </li></ul><ul><li>Loomba A (1998) Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Routledge </li></ul><ul><li>Malik, K (1996) The Meaning of Race, Macmillan </li></ul><ul><li>Malik, K (2002) Race, pluralism and the meaning of difference, ( paper in New Formations, no33 (Spring 1998) Available online at : </li></ul><ul><li>Malik, K (2002) Against Multiculturalism first appeared in the New Humanist (Summer 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>Malik, K (2004) Too Diverse: A Response to David Goodhart </li></ul><ul><li>  Muecke, S. (1982) ‘Available Discourses’ in Botsman, P. d (1982) Theoretical Strategies, Sydney, Local Consumption Press. </li></ul><ul><li>PARIAH website (People Against Racism In Australian Homelands) managed by Mick Lambe (Better a Pariah than a Liar) </li></ul><ul><li>Spencer, S (2006) Race and Ethnicity: Culture, Identity and Representation, Routledge </li></ul>