Mapping The Language Of Racism

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The topics of 'race' and 'racism' are often treated narrowly and unimaginatively in social scientific literature; they are usually viewed as sub-categories of 'stereotyping' or 'prejudice' or 'social class.' In this exciting new book, Margaret Wetherell and Jonathan Potter extend their work on the use of discourse analysis to tackle racism and issues of social structure, power relations and idology.

Part I, Theory and Method, reviews and criticizes mainstream sociological and psychological theoretical approaches to the topic of racism and introduces the challenges to them posed by discourse analysis. Also examined are the ways in which some recent developments in literary theory, post-structuralism, semiotics and cultural studies might be applied to the social and psychological study of racist practices.

Part II, Discourse in Action, examines how white New Zealanders make sense of their own history and actions towards the Maori minoriy. The authors' contention is that, in order to combat racism, we need to address the commonplace forms of explanation used by ordinary people rather than concentrate on obvious bigots and extremist groups. They conclude that many 'liberal' and 'egalitarian' arguments can be used to sustain racism and exploitation.

Mapping the Language of Racism is a pioneering book which suggest genuinely new ways of thinking and acting on a topic of grave social concern.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231082617
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 0.54 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Issues for discourse analysis 4
Pt. I Theory and method 11
1 Ideology and political economy 13
The falsity of 'race' 14
The history of the 'racial' account 18
The political and economic context 22
The social functions of ideology 24
The effectivity of ideology 26
Discursive representation, reality and individual experience 29
Ideology in perspective 31
2 Cognition, identity and personality 34
Reading cognitions 36
Social categorization and social stereotypes 36
Representation and reality in social cognition research 40
Reading social identity 43
The ontology and epistemology of social identity theory 46
Reading motives 49
Discourse analysis as diagnosis 55
3 Discourse, power and subjectivity 58
Discursive practice 60
Discourse and its objects 62
The status of scientific accounts of racism 65
Truth and anti-racist practice 67
From ideology to ideological practice 69
Constructing social groups 72
Constructing subjectivities 75
Discursive power 79
Genealogy and ideology 85
4 Analyzing racist discourse 88
Discourses and interpretative repertoires 89
Rhetorical construction 93
Interviews and documents 98
Transcription, coding and analysis 100
Understanding, ethnography and discursive consequences 102
Putting discourse in context 104
Pt. II Discourse in action 113
Preface 115
5 Constructing community: 'race', 'culture' and 'nation' 117
The premises of race 119
Victorian racial interpretation 124
Race in 1960s New Zealand 125
The premises of culture 128
Culture as heritage 129
Culture as therapy 131
Pakeha positions 134
Culture as ideology 137
The premises of nation and nationalism 139
Mimicry and ambivalence 142
Towards a South Pacific nation? 143
The practice of categorization 146
6 Accounting for the 'social': stories of social conflict and social influence 149
Discrediting protest 150
Variable scenarios of influence 154
Conflict or consensus: the organic society 158
'Proper' and 'improper' influence 161
Susceptible masses and hysterical extremists 163
Formulations of the individual versus the social 164
Trickling down or trickling up, conspiracies or coincidences? 167
7 Practical politics and ideological dilemmas 174
Some commonplaces of political discourse 177
The patchwork of resources 178
The importance of being practical 179
Equality, freedom and individual rights 181
Imperial history 183
Mobilizing arguments 185
Ambivalent individuals or ambivalent discourse? 194
Towards a critique of the modern racism approach 196
8 The prejudice problematic 201
Prejudice in social psychological and lay discourse 202
Individual bigotry and collective guilt 204
Irrationality and pre-judgement 206
The manifest and the latent 208
Tolerance and harmony 209
Dodging the identity of prejudice: how to deal with accusations 211
Reforming the prejudiced 215
Discourse analysis and anti-racism 216
Appendix 1 Sample and procedure 221
Appendix 2 Transcription conventions 225
References 227
Index 241
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