Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

‘I hope we won’t have to understand racism one day’: Researching or reproducing ‘race’ in social psychological research?

By Caroline Howarth

Abstract

This paper examines the reification and problemization of ‘race’ in Psychological research in both influential studies in the field and inmy empirical work. The main argument is that we need to examine how representations of ‘race’ are assumed, produced and contested in research practice. This argument is made by (a) showing how research in the area adopts everyday representations of ‘race’ as essentialized and (b) with an illustration of the construction of ‘race’ within my study. This study explores how children in a predominantly white setting accept and contest representations that race. twenty two children from a range of cultural backgrounds volunteered to discuss their views and experiences of ‘race’ and racism in a naturalistic research activity. The analysis reveals that racialized difference is something that is constructed as both ‘real’—in that it can be seen, touched and even caught from ‘the other’ and simultaneously something that is constructed, imposed and damaging. This highlights the possibilities for racialized others to take up positions as agents and not (only) as objects of the racializing and racist gaze, and so presents the case for thinking, debating and researching beyond reifying representations of ‘race’. This has important lessons for social psychology: namely, we cannot continue to take racial categorization as a naturalistic or self-evident aspect of the social worlds that our discipline plays an important role in constructing and defending

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), BF Psychology
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1348/014466608X360727
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:23965
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1995). Banal Nationalism. doi
  2. (2005). Beyond the optimal strategy: A reality check for the contact hypothesis. doi
  3. (1952). Black Skin, White Masks. doi
  4. (2005). Constructions of racism by British Chinese pupils and parents. doi
  5. (1988). Exploring and evaluating school-based interventions to reduce prejudice. doi
  6. (2000). I wanna tell you a story’: exploring the application of vignettes in qualitative research with children and young people. doi
  7. (2006). National, Ethnic and Religious Identities: Hybridity and the case of the Polish Tatars. doi
  8. (2007). Non-binarized identities of similarity and difference. doi
  9. (2006). Public prejudice as collaborative accomplishment: Towards a dialogic social psychology of racism doi
  10. (2005). Racial Encounter: The Social Psychology of Contact and Desegregation London: doi
  11. (1998). Racism, Gender identities and young children: Social relations in a multi-ethnic inner city primary school. doi
  12. (1954). The nature of prejudice. doi
  13. (2001). Thematic networks: an analytic tool for qualitative research. doi
  14. (2006). They’re not racist…’ Prejudice denial, mitigation and suppression in dialogue. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.