Editorial: Race/Matter – materialism and the politics of racialization

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Papadopoulos, Dimitrios ; Sharma, Sanjay (2008)
  • Publisher: Darkmatter
  • Subject: Race | Materialism | HM | H1 | Anti-racist

A materialist turn in the humanities and social sciences has revitalized work in feminism, science and technology studies, critical social theory and phenomenology. Nonetheless, we want to ask what’s at stake when ‘race’ is grasped from a materialist standpoint? Is the focus on materiality able to track and unravel the manifold neo-racisms of contemporary globalization? Does it supersede the limitations of social constructionist accounts of race? And could a materialist ontology of race transform and invigorate anti-racist praxis?
  • References (10)

    1. Brian Massumi (2002) Parables for the Virtual, London: Duke, while stressing the 'ontological priority' of movement and indeterminancy, does not simply characterize signification as some kind of second-order process or effect. [↩]

    2. Kobena Mercer (1994) Welcome to the Jungle, London: Routledge, draws upon Bakhtin/Voloshinov for maintaining that the sign 'Black' needs to be grasped in 'materialist' terms. [↩]

    3. Haraway, D. J. (1992). The promises of monsters: A regenerative politics for inappropriate/d others. In L. Grossberg, C. Nelson & P. A. Treichler (Eds.), Cultural studies (pp. 295-337). London: Routledge, p.300 [↩]

    4. 'Modern genetic evidence demonstrates that whilst there are average genetic differences between human populations, these do not map on the socially ascribed 'racial' divisions. … In fact the overwhelming proportion of the genetic difference between individuals lies within rather than between so-called races - leading most modern biologists to discard as unhelpful the term 'race' in the human context.' p.95 in Rose, S. (2006) The 21st century brain. Explaining, mending and manipulating the mind. London: Vintage. [↩]

    5. 'Genomics may send out the signal to reify “race” as code and information, but there is a sense in which it also points unintentionally toward 'race's' overcoming. This cannot be a single, bold act of creativity, a triumphant, once-and-for-all negation. It must be more like a gradual withering away arising from growing irrelevancy. At the smaller than microscope scales that open up the body for scrutiny today, 'race' becomes less meaningful, compelling, or salient to the basic tasks of healing and protecting ourselves.” p.37 in Gilroy, P. (2000) Against race. Imagining political culture beyond the color line. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press. [↩]

    6. Barad, K. (2003) Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801-831. [↩]

    7. Fanon, F. (1967) Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Press. [↩]

    8. See Thompson, C. (2005) Making parents. The ontological choreography of reproductive technologies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. [↩]

    9. See for example Dyer-Witheford, N. (2001). Empire, immaterial labour, the new combination, and the global worker. Rethinking Marxism. A Journal of economics, culture, and society, 13 (3-4), 70- 81. [↩]

    URL to article: http://www.darkmatter101.org/site/2008/02/23/racematter-materialism-and-the-politicsof-racialization/

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