Everyday Practice of Race in America
By Utz McKnight
Routledge – 2010 – 128 pages
Series: Postcolonial Politics
An original contribution to political theory and cultural studies this work argues for a reinterpretation of how race is described in US society. McKnight develops a line of reasoning to explain how we accommodate racial categories in a period when it has become important to adopt anti-racist formal instruments in much of our daily lives.
The discussion ranges over a wide theoretical landscape, bringing to bear the insights of Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell, Michel Foucault, Cornel West and others to the dilemmas represented by the continuing social practice of race. The book lays the theoretical foundation for a politics of critical race practice, it provides insight into why we have sought the legal and formal institutional solutions to racism that have developed since the 1960s, and then describes why these are inadequate to addressing the new practices of racism in society. The work seeks to leave the reader with a sense of possibility, not pessimism; and demonstrates how specific arguments about racial subjection may allow for changing how we live and thereby improve the impact race continues to have in our lives.
By developing a new way to critically study how race persists in dominating society, the book provides readers with an understanding of how race is socially constructed today, and will be of great interest to students and scholars of political theory, American politics and race & ethnic politics
"McKnight (Univ. of Alabama) presents a philosophical exploration of the contours of race and racism in US life with this interesting work….This complex work offers a clear challenge to theories of a post-racial US." —K. Anderson, Eastern Illinois University, Recommended title, CHOICE
1. Representation: Class Ambiguity and Racial Subjectivity 2. The Everyday and Ordinary: Developing a Theory of Race 3. Cody’s, Foucault, and Race 4. Working Together: Conditional Subjectivity 5. Walking the Streets 6. Passing and Mixing: Challenging the Racial Subject
Utz McKnight is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alabama. Prior to this he taught for several years as an Visiting Professor in African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.