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After race: Ethnography, race and post-race theory

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anoop Nayak


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If race is an arbitrary sign used to divide up the human population, why do social constructionists continue to deploy the term at the same time as they refute its existence? If race is an empty category that holds no value what does it mean to be writing, researching and conducting ethnography in the name of race? This article considers the problematic of race enquiry in the light of an anti-foundationalist impulse evident in recent writing on cultural identity by scholars such as Bhabha, Butler, Derrida, Fanon and Gilroy. This generative cluster of philosophical ideas, theories and practices are tentatively identified here as decipherable of an emergent post-race paradigm. Though offering a critical interrogation of the dominant paradigm in race thinking - social constructionism - the article calls for an appreciation of the highly productive tensions evident in the broader genealogy of race theory and politics. In encouraging critical dialogues within and across essentialist, constructionist and post-race frameworks this essay addresses how we can do, undo, or do differently the question of race in ethnography. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nayak A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ethnic and Racial Studies

Year: 2006

Volume: 29

Issue: 3

Pages: 411-430

Print publication date: 01/05/2006

ISSN (print): 0141-9870

ISSN (electronic): 1466-4356


DOI: 10.1080/01419870600597818


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