W059
One face, one race? Rethinking race and citizenship in a changing Europe

Convenors:
Dorothy Louise Zinn (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
Heath Cabot (University of Pittsburgh)
Discussant:
Verena Stolcke
Location:
Education Seminar Room
Start time:
25 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Something akin to "classic racism" is still abound in Europe, as people commonly employ racialized categories. This Workshop considers the relationship between race and citizenship in the new Europe, exploring the fluid nature of racialization processes and their role in imagining the citizenry.

Long abstract:

While political and cultural memberships in Europe are radically changing, there are alarming signals (political shifts to the right, phenotypic targeting, militarization of borders, and racialized aggression) that notions of blood and nation may matter more than ever. Racial hierarchies framed in biological terms ("classic racism") are politically unacceptable, yet people still commonly classify groups with racialized categories that emerge through an amalgam of signifiers, though these are not fixed and unchanging. Keeping in mind the increasing neoliberalization of European economic frameworks (Ong 1999), how are constellations of race and nation being reconstituted? How are differently positioned European residents reimagining the relationship between blood, phenotype, and belonging? Are these emerging racialization processes best described in terms of "cultural fundamentalism/differentialism", or are they more akin to "classic racism"? As Hartigan (2005) has suggested, anthropology occupies a privileged position to deploy a dialectic between the concepts of "culture" and "race" to denaturalize racialized forms of social injustice. Anthropological reflection can help grasp the fluid nature of racialization processes and their role in imagining citizenry, with citizenship considered in its multiple meanings as affective ties of belonging, (legal) nationality, and the endowment of social and human rights within a polity. Ethnography can offer a nuanced view for investigating contacts and disjunctures between political and mass media discourses and what happens on the ground, both in terms of autochthonous populations and the lived experiences of migrants and their descendants. This Workshop will compare contemporary contributions to questions of race and citizenship in Europe.