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Racial domination

ISBN: 9781509563029
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Polity
Origin: GB
Release Date: April, 2024

Book Details

Race is arguably the single most troublesome and volatile concept of the social sciences in the early 21st century. It is invoked to explain all manner of historical phenomena and current issues, from slavery to police brutality to acute poverty, and it is also used as a term of civic denunciation and moral condemnation. In this erudite and incisive book based on a panoramic mining of comparative and historical research from around the globe, LoAc Wacquant pours cold analytical water on this hot topic and infuses it with epistemological clarity, conceptual precision, and empirical breadth. Drawing on Gaston Bachelard, Max Weber, and Pierre Bourdieu, Wacquant first articulates a series of reframings, starting with dislodging the United States from its Archimedean position, in order to capture race-making as a form of symbolic violence. He then forges a set of novel concepts to rethink the nexus of racial classification and stratification: the continuum of ethnicity and race as disguised ethnicity, the diagonal of racialization and the pentad of ethnoracial domination, the checkerboard of violence and the dialectic of salience and consequentiality. This enables him to elaborate a meticulous critique of such fashionable notions as “structural racism” and “racial capitalism” that promise much but deliver little due to their semantic ambiguity and rhetorical malleability–notions that may even hamper the urgent fight against racial inequality. Wacquant turns to deploying this conceptual framework to dissect two formidable institutions of ethnoracial rule in America: Jim Crow and the prison. He draws on ethnographies and historiographies of white domination in the postbellum South to construct a robust analytical concept of Jim Crow as caste terrorism erected in the late 19th century. He unravels the deadly symbiosis between the black hyperghetto and the carceral archipelago that has coproduced and entrenched the material and symbolic marginality of the African-American precariat in the metropolis of the late 20th century. Wacquant concludes with reflections on the politics of knowledge and pointers on the vexed question of the relationship between social epistemology and racial justice. Both sharply focused and wide ranging, synthetic yet controversial,A Racial Domination A will be of interest to students and scholars of race and ethnicity, power and inequality, and epistemology and theory across the social sciences and humanities.