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Sleepwalking into the ‘post-racial’: social policy and research-led teaching

Phillips, Coretta ORCID: 0000-0001-9796-7792 and Williams, Fiona (2022) Sleepwalking into the ‘post-racial’: social policy and research-led teaching. Social Policy and Society, 21 (1). 26 - 41. ISSN 1475-3073

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1474746421000440


Research-led teaching is the sine qua non of the 21st century university. To understand its possibilities for teaching and learning about race in Social Policy requires, as a first step, interrogating the epistemological and theoretical core of the discipline, as well as its organisational dynamics. Using parts of Emirbayer and Desmond’s (2012) framework of disciplinary reflexivity, this article traces the discipline’s habits of thought but also its lacunae in the production of racial knowledge. This entails focusing on its different forms of institutionalised and epistemological whiteness, and what has shaped the omission or marginalisation of a full understanding of the racialisation of welfare subjects and regimes in the discipline. Throughout, the article offers alternative analyses and thinking that fully embrace the historical and contemporary role of race, racism, and nation in lived realities, institutional processes, and global racial orders. It concludes with pointers towards a re-envisioning of Social Policy, within a framework in which postcolonial and intersectional theory and praxis are championed. Only then might a decolonised curriculum be possible in which race is not peripheral to core teaching and learning.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2021 08:51
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 13:12

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