Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit

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Overview

"Racial Situations is an innovative and theoretically sophisticated study of the process of racial formation among white residents of urban Detroit. Hartigan's ethnographic material is vivid and compelling and yields an uncompromisingly complex view of how whiteness is lived in American society. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the dynamic interplay of race, class, and culture in the everyday lives of urban residents."—Steven Gregory, Columbia University

"John Hartigan's distinctive ethnography will propel white readers across boundaries that they might prefer not to acknowledge. He effects a crucial move, long hoped for in 'whiteness studies'-a critical examination of liberal notions of race through a confrontation with whites' own despised 'others.'"—George Marcus, Rice University

"John Hartigan is a terrific listener and an insightful thinker, and this book shows why both are important. In an era of seemingly inescapable racial thinking in this country, Hartigan asks us to notice how and when 'race' matters, and to be open to the possibility that some situations will surprise us. Richly nuanced and wonderfully peopled, this book is also courageous. It conveys compassion and understanding even when we might just expect criticism. Compelling, at times even gripping, this is a book I am very glad to have read."—Virginia Domínguez, University of Iowa

"Drawing on rich comparative ethnography and subtle theorizing, Racial Situations is a timely reflection on major changes in the contemporary United States. The book makes an important contribution to theoretical and conceptual work on race and class in the various disciplines that converge around cultural studies and also provides this vital and contested field with further evidence of the value to be gained from innovative ethnographic research."—Roger Rouse, University of California, Davis

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Editorial Reviews

Metro Times Detroit
Hartigan is a good storyteller . . . and a clear analyst of how local residents, black and white, make sense of race as it affects their lives and their sometimes desperate attempts to make do in this impoverished bit of the city. . . . By asking us to see race and class in different ways, this book helps us to imagine a world where such categories might be meaningless or superseded, even as it immerses us in the intractable, dangerous and hurtful relationships these fields of inequality perpetuate around us.
— Marc Christensen
Choice
A sobering examination of the tangled web of race, class, and struggles over space.
Journal of American Ethnic History
This inventive, impressive [book] . . . contributes to the reorientation of studies of white identity . . . [It will] reward historians who venture into this ambitious anthropological account.
— David Roediger
Contemporary Sociology
This is an excellent book that ought to be widely read . . . Substantively important, theoretically sophisticated, and full of unforgettable characters.
— Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Metro Times Detroit - Marc Christensen
Hartigan is a good storyteller . . . and a clear analyst of how local residents, black and white, make sense of race as it affects their lives and their sometimes desperate attempts to make do in this impoverished bit of the city. . . . By asking us to see race and class in different ways, this book helps us to imagine a world where such categories might be meaningless or superseded, even as it immerses us in the intractable, dangerous and hurtful relationships these fields of inequality perpetuate around us.
Journal of American Ethnic History - David Roediger
This inventive, impressive [book] . . . contributes to the reorientation of studies of white identity . . . [It will] reward historians who venture into this ambitious anthropological account.
Contemporary Sociology - Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
This is an excellent book that ought to be widely read . . . Substantively important, theoretically sophisticated, and full of unforgettable characters.
From the Publisher
"Hartigan is a good storyteller . . . and a clear analyst of how local residents, black and white, make sense of race as it affects their lives and their sometimes desperate attempts to make do in this impoverished bit of the city. . . . By asking us to see race and class in different ways, this book helps us to imagine a world where such categories might be meaningless or superseded, even as it immerses us in the intractable, dangerous and hurtful relationships these fields of inequality perpetuate around us."—Marc Christensen, Metro Times Detroit

"A sobering examination of the tangled web of race, class, and struggles over space."—
Choice

"This inventive, impressive [book] . . . contributes to the reorientation of studies of white identity . . . [It will] reward historians who venture into this ambitious anthropological account."—David Roediger, Journal of American Ethnic History

"This is an excellent book that ought to be widely read . . . Substantively important, theoretically sophisticated, and full of unforgettable characters."—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Contemporary Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691028859
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/1999
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 753,199
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Names and Transcriptions xiii
Abbreviations xv
Introduction 3
Detroit 9
Three Neighborhoods 11
The Localness of Race 13
White People or Whiteness? 16
Structure of the Book 19
1. History of the 'Hood 24
"Disgrace to the Race" 26
The Color Line 37
Riots and Race 50
Franklin School 69
2. "A Hundred Shades of White" 83
"Hillbillies" 88
"That White and Black Shit" 107
The Wicker Chair and the Baseball Game 128
3. Eluding the R-Word 145
The "Fact" of Whiteness 151
Encounters 158
"Gentrifier" 168
"History" 191
4. Between "All Black" and "All White" 209
Statements 214
"White Enclave" 224
"Racist" 245
Curriculum 263
Conclusion 278
Notes 28S
Index 347

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