The Persistent Power of "Race" in the Cultural and Political Economy of Racism

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Historically, anthropology has occupied a central place in the construction and reconstruction of race as both an intellectual device and a social reality. Critiques of the biological concept of race have led many anthropologists to adopt a "no-race" posture and an approach to intergroup difference highlighting ethnicity-based principles of classification and organization. Often, however, the singular focus on ethnicity has left unaddressed the persistence of racism and its invidious impact on local communities, nation-states, and the global system. Within the past decade, anthropologists have revitalized their interest in the complex and often covert structures and dynamics of racial inequality. Recent studies shed light on race's heightened volatility on contemporary sociocultural landscapes, the racialization of ethno-nationalist conflicts, anthropology's multiple traditions of antiracism, and intranational as well as international variations in racial constructions, including the conventionally neglected configurations of whiteness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-74
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - Oct 1 1995


  • EVOLUTIONARY theories
  • SOCIAL sciences
  • GROUP identity
  • SOCIAL factors
  • CULTURAL identity
  • neo-racism without races
  • racialized ethnicity
  • scientific antiracisms
  • social construction of race
  • subjugated knowledges in anthropology


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