1st Edition

Race, Ethnicity and Social Theory

By John Solomos Copyright 2023
    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    314 Pages
    by Routledge

    Race, Ethnicity and Social Theory provides a critical analysis of the main areas of scholarly research and debate about racial and ethnic relations over the past few decades. The book covers substantive areas of scholarly debate in this fast-changing field, including race and social relations, identities and the construction of the racial other, feminism and race, the relationship between race and nationalism, antisemitism, the evolution of new forms of racism, race and political representation and, more generally, the changing debates about race and ethnicity in our global environment.

    The book argues that there is a need for more dialogue across national and conceptual boundaries about how to develop the theoretical tools needed to understand both the historical roots of contemporary forms of racialised social and political relations and the contemporary forms through which race is made and re-made. A key argument that runs through the book is the need to develop conceptual frameworks that can help us to make sense of the changing forms of racial and ethnic relations in contemporary societies. This means developing more dialogue across national research cultures as well as empirical research that seeks to engage with the key issues raised by contemporary theoretical debates.

    The book will be of interest to both students wanting to develop a deeper understanding of this area of scholarship and to researchers of race, ethnicity and migration working in various national and disciplinary environments.



    Origins and trajectories

    Political and policy context

    Situating this book

    Race relations and social theory

    Structuring the argument


    1 Theoretical frameworks and perspectives

    Concepts and analytical frames

    Sociologies of race in Britain

    Sociological perspectives in America

    Critical and interdisciplinary theories

    Globalisation of scholarship and research

    Postcolonial and decolonial perspectives on race

    Rethinking the boundaries of race and ethnicity


    2 Race and social relations

    Race, social relations, and class

    Genesis and development

    From race to class, and back again

    Reconceptualising racism and social relations

    Racism and society

    Locating race and ethnicity in the social world


    3 Constructing identities and the racial other

    Identities, boundaries, and racialisation

    Culture, identity, race

    Whiteness and the racial other

    Intersectional approaches to race and ethnicity

    Living with difference


    4 Reframing feminism, rethinking race

    Race and feminist theorising

    Limitations of feminist theories and race

    Whiteness and feminist theorising

    Black feminist perspectives

    Intersectionality, culture, and racial politics

    Minority women, mobilisation, resistance

    Reframing the boundaries of feminism


    5 Nations, cultures, identities

    Nationalism, race, and nation

    Constructing nations through race

    Race, nation, and gender

    Englishness, Britishness, and beyond

    Remaking the nation after colonialism

    Race, culture, and national identity

    Nationalism and race in the global environment


    6 Antisemitism, racism, and modernity

    Background and context

    Changing perspectives

    Historical forms of antisemitism

    Sociology and antisemitism

    Antisemitism and the politics of racism

    Political and cultural expressions


    7 New racisms or beyond race?

    What kind of racism?

    From racism to racisms

    Multiculturalism, diversity, and post-race

    New racial orders

    Political languages and race

    Culture, race, and whiteness

    Racism, populism, and post-race


    8 Race, representation, and difference

    Political inclusion and exclusion

    Race, ethnicity, and politics

    Representation, pluralism, and mobilisation

    Migrants, mobilisation, and citizenship

    Political identities and social movements

    Looking to the future


    9 Racism and ethnicity in a changing world

    Race making in the present

    Reframing the field of study

    Emerging issues and questions

    Racism and migration

    Race and global inequalities

    Comparative research cultures

    Rethinking research priorities





    John Solomos is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK. He has researched and written widely on the history and contemporary forms of race and ethnic relations in Britain, theories of race and racism, the politics of race, equal opportunity policies, multiculturalism and social policy, race and football, and racist movements and ideas. His most recent books are Race and Racism in Britain (Fourth Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) and The Unfinished Politics of Race: Histories of Political Participation, Migration and Multiculturalism (Cambridge University Press, 2022). His most recent edited books are Race and Ethnicity in Pandemic Times (Routledge, 2022), An Introduction to Sociology (SAGE, 2022), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (Third Edition, Routledge, 2022), and Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Racisms (Routledge, 2020). He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Ethnic and Racial Studies journal, co-editor of the Racism, Resistance and Social Change book series (Manchester University Press), and General Editor of the online The Routledge Encyclopaedia of Race and Racism series.

    ‘John Solomos is the too-often unacknowledged uncle of UK race and ethnic studies. This work brings together insights from his field-making career, reflecting his often stated belief that a commitment to teaching is central to the responsibilities of a serious scholar. It is destined to become a core work in the field, encouraging new generations of antiracist scholars to learn to think with the seriousness and generosity of the author’.

    Gargi Bhattacharyya, Professor of Sociology, University of East London, UK

    Race, Ethnicity and Social Theory is a politically astute, empirically grounded, conceptually sophisticated and open-ended contribution to our understanding of race and ethnicity at a moment when it is most needed. As popular movements and a new generation of activists embrace black lives matter, as statues of slavers and colonists are toppled, as universities grapple with what decolonising the curriculum might mean, and the racial inequalities of everyday life are as entrenched as ever, there couldn’t be a better moment than now to take stock of how we got to where we are today and how we might move forward into a more racially just future. This is simply a superb book. It provides a rigorous, intelligent and accessible pathway through the last half a century of race thinking, debate, politics and the racialisation of social relationships, in the UK and beyond. Most importantly, it provides an invaluable resource with which to develop intelligent public conversations about race’.

    Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

    ‘Nobody in the world but John Solomos could write such a great book, based on empirical research, theoretical clarity, a solid experience of teaching and an unbelievable knowledge of both academic production and controversies, and the public debates on racism and antisemitism. In a time when huge transformations affect these key issues, which are so central in the political and social life, John Solomos brings to bear a more accurate, precise, and up-to-date analysis. This book will be a classic point of reference for years to come’.

    Michel Wieviorka, Professor of Sociology, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France