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'Pre-discursive' racism

Hook, Derek (2006) 'Pre-discursive' racism. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 16 (3). pp. 207-232. ISSN 1052-9284

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Abstract

This paper makes the case that discourse analytic approaches in social psychology are not adequate to the task of apprehending racism in its bodily, affective and pre-symbolic dimensions. We are hence faced with a dilemma: if discursive psychology is inadequate when it comes to theorizing pre-discursive forms of racism, then any attempts to develop an anti-racist strategy from such a basis will presumably exhibit the same limitations. Suggesting a rapprochement of discursive and psychoanalytic modes of analysis, I argue that Kristeva's theory of abjection provides a means of understanding racism as both historically/socially constructed and as existing at powerfully embodied, visceral and subliminal dimensions of subjectivity. Kristeva's theory of abjection provides us with an account of a pre-discursive (that is, a bodily, affective, pre-symbolic) racism, a form of racism that comes before words, and that is routed through the logics of the body and its anxieties of distinction, separation and survival. This theory enables us, moreover, to join together the expulsive reactions of a racism of the body to both the personal racism of the ego and the broader discursive racisms of the prevailing social order. Moreover, it directs our attention to the fact that discourses of racism are always locked into a relationship with pre-discursive processes which condition and augment every discursive action, which escape the codifications of discourse and which drive the urgency of its attempts at containment

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5...
Additional Information: Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<http://eprints.lse.ac.uk>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Sets: Departments > Social Psychology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: DOI: 10.1002/casp.853
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2007
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/957/

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