We hear much about ‘race’ and ‘racism’ in public discourse but the terms are frequently used without clear definitions or practical examples of how these phenomena actually work.

Racisms introduces practical methods which enable students to think coherently and sociologically about this complex feature of the global landscape.

Steve Garner argues that there is no single monolithic object of analysis but rather a plural set of ideas and practices that result in the introduction of ‘race’ into social relations. This differs over time and from one place to another.

Focusing on the basics, Racisms:

Defines ‘race’, ‘racism’, ‘institutional racism’ and ‘racialization’; Provides examples of how these function in fields like the natural sciences and asylum; Clearly sets out theoretical arguments around collective identities (‘race’, class, gender, nation, religion); Uses empirical case studies, including some drawn from the author's own fieldwork; Points students and other readers toward sources of further web and text based information

Engaging and accessible this book provides a sign-posted route into key elements of contemporary debates.

Racisms is an ideal introduction for undergraduates studying ‘race’ and ethnicity, social divisions, stratification, and social work.



We saw in the previous chapter that there is no consensus on the precise meaning of ‘race’. This is necessarily the case because those meanings are not fixed by nature, but are instead dependent on the historical, social and political context. This creates an epistemological problem for researchers (that is, one in which the status of knowledge is at the centre). As ‘race’ is a social but not biological category, what exactly is the subject of our investigation? If we want to understand the social meanings attached to ‘race’, rather than ‘race’ itself, then one solution is to use ‘race’ with inverted commas to highlight the concept's status as contingent and contested. Another is to adopt the approach whereby the researcher uses the concept ...

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