Recognising British bodies: the significance of race and whiteness in ‘post-racial’ Britain

Clarke, Amy (2021) Recognising British bodies: the significance of race and whiteness in ‘post-racial’ Britain. Sociological Research Online. ISSN 1360-7804

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Abstract

This article examines the significance of race in how nation is articulated by the white middle-classes in ‘post-racial’ Britain. In doing so, it highlights the centrality of bodies and informal markers of difference within processes of national recognition and reveals a normative expectation for British bodies racialised as non-white to perform or inhabit (particular kinds of) whiteness. Bringing insights from post-race theory and advocating a broad conceptualisation of whiteness as a set of relational ideas and codes, the article demonstrates that whiteness continues to shape and underpin dominant conceptions of Britishness – articulated by middle-class white Britons – even as they recognise people of colour individually, and to some extent collectively, as British. Since the role and symbolic power of the white middle-classes is often overlooked in discussions of Britishness, the article makes an important contribution to debates on race and nation, illustrating how whiteness continues to function in alledgedly ‘post-race’ societies. It concludes that narrow definitions of race and whiteness allow their continued significance to be under-estimated and ultimately enable the perpetuation of racialised hierarchies of belonging.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Britishness, race, whiteness, nation, recognition, middle-class
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HS Societies
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Depositing User: Amy Clarke
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2021 07:12
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 12:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/99989

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