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29. Researching race


Our research shows how your race affects your identity, experiences and life chances: race counts!

The ways in which race structures identities, experience and disadvantage has been a central concern to much of the work coming out of Manchester sociology. All the research carried out in Manchester seeks to explore how race is both a social construction (ie it has no biological or genetic basis) and yet, at the same time has real social effects – in terms of racism and discrimination and experience and identity.

However, there have been a variety of approaches to examining the multiple ways in which processes of racialization impact on social and cultural identities as well as social structures. Lou Kushnick, Professor of Race Relations who was formerly in Sociology, is the Director of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust and the Race Relations Resource Centre. His books include: Race, Class and Struggle: Racism and Inequality in Britain, the US and Western Europe.

In the influential Diaspora and Hybridity, Virinder Kalra (with Kaur and Hutnyk) set out some key critiques of overly optimistic approaches within cultural studies associated with the terms diaspora (the movement of peoples) and hybridity (as the mixing and mingling of cultural difference). In part, the critique centres on the recognition that only certain movements of peoples and certain mixes of culture are understood as diasporic or hybrid and that the key identifier is the perceived crossing of racialised categories.

In White Lives: the interplay of ‘race’, class and gender in contemporary London, Bridget Byrne argued for the need to examine the ways in which white people’s lives, identities and experience are also shaped by processes of racialisation, as well as by gender and class. James Rhodes has also considered whiteness, with a focus on white racisms and the way in which race figures in politics in the UK and the US.

Claire Alexander, who has explored the racialised stereotyping of young black and Asian men (in The Art of Being Black and The Asian Gang) has also worked on religious identity with a particular focus on Muslim experience.

James Nazroo’s research explores the links between ethnicity, racism, class and inequality, with a particular focus on the impact of inequalities on health. In The State of Race, Nisha Kapoor, Virinder Kalra and James Rhodes brought together a group of scholars who examine the ways in which the state both shapes and is shaped by racism, including a critique of arguments of ‘post-race’, the idea that we have now moved beyond racism The impact and changing dynamics of race and racism are also being explored in the ESRC Centre on the dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE).


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