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.



Social scientists began interrogating what white racialised identities meant at the end of the nineteenth century. The first to do so were African Americans: W.E.B. Du Bois (1998 [1935]) and Ida Wells (1893) are the pioneers of the corpus. It could be argued that many critical studies that fall into the category of ‘race’ and ethnic studies between the early 1900s and the 1990s are about white identities. However, the renewed and explicit academic interest in ‘whiteness’ as a topic dates back to the work of American labour historian David Roediger, whose study of the white American working class called The Wages of Whiteness (1991) opened the door to a multidisciplinary migration towards the kind of issues he raised. The previous invisibility of whiteness ...

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