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comparative racialization

SHU-MEI SHIH


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

Understanding racialization as the process and mechanism by which race becomes a structuring principle in social, economic, political, and cultural relations requires comparative perspectives across time and space. Race becomes a term of value, negative or positive, only when comparisons are made, because comparisons produce differences between us and them, between the self and the other. Racialization is therefore also a psychological mechanism and process. While race never stands alone from other categories of difference such as gender and class, its instrumentalization through negative comparisons is at the core of the European colonial project that began towards the end of the fifteenth century. Each instance of racialization in different historical periods and geographical contexts may be unique, but Western colonialism, the event that heralded race as a structuring principle, provides historical coherence to the globalization of racial thinking and racism. As a research method, to think racialization comparatively therefore means not only to analyze specificities of each instance of racialization in different historical periods and geographical locations, but also to examine how the worldwide colonial turn informs these specific instances to be potentially related to one another. To think comparatively therefore is to think about the world where the colonial turn has left ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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