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Old racisms, new masks: on the continuing discontinuities of racism and the erasure of race in European contexts

Salem, Sarah Mamdouh Ibrahim ORCID: 0000-0002-7872-5613 and Thompson, Vanessa (2016) Old racisms, new masks: on the continuing discontinuities of racism and the erasure of race in European contexts. nineteen sixty nine, 3 (1).

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Discourses on racism in Europe have largely been dominated by a US-centric lens that serves to universalize the North American experience of racism. This decenters the different historical and geographical experiences European contexts have had with continuing racist legacies as well as the multiple ways in which anti-racism can challenge such legacies. It also allows European societies to continue to construct a self-image that displaces racism onto other geographical contexts or isolates it as a purely historical phenomenon. In order to reveal and counter the mechanisms of this displacement and isolation, we want to argue that three specific socio-historical developments have produced distinctive articulations of racism that differ significantly from North American understandings of both race and anti-racism. Whereas in the US context, where the post-race discourse is constituted by a speaking through race, dominant European socialities either detach from race as a social category of domination and/or interpret it as a historical phenomenon. By unpacking the construction of a national imaginary that erases racism, interrogating the assumed turn from biological to what is sometimes referred to as cultural racism, and examining the (bio)politics of the welfare state, we aim to elucidate modern forms of European racism that call into question the view of Europe as not a racist space. Drawing specifically on the contexts of France, the Netherlands and Germany, we demonstrate the importance of conceptualizing racism as an intersectional, dynamic phenomenon bound to spatial and temporal meanings and signifiers. In the process, we reveal the ways race and racism formulate themselves differently within European spaces over and against the United States in order to challenge the silence about race in Europe and transnationalize our understandings of the various articulations of racism in different socio-historical contexts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 09:06
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:49

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