Racism and the sociological imagination


email: robert.carter@warwick.ac.uk


Our chief purpose in this article is to argue for a restoration of a strong notion of agency to sociological accounts of social relations, and particularly those concerned with group formation and conflict. We contend that much contemporary sociological writing on this topic continues to rely on the concepts of race and ethnicity as primary explanatory or descriptive devices. This has two important consequences: on the one hand it reproduces the powerful theoretical obfuscation associated with these concepts, whilst on the other it prompts the notion that human agency has only an illusory role as an intentional agent. Drawing on the intellectual resources of a Hegelian-inflected historical materialism and realism, we challenge both claims by arguing for a post-race, post-ethnicity sociology of group formation, one which allows a greater scope for agency in the determination of social life.