Whiteness : An Introduction book cover
1st Edition

An Introduction

ISBN 9780415403641
Published September 18, 2007 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

What is whiteness? Why is it worth using as a tool in the social sciences?

Making sociological sense of the idea of whiteness, this book skilfully argues how this concept can help us understand contemporary societies. If one of sociology's objectives is to make the familiar unfamiliar in order to gain heightened understanding, then whiteness offers a perfect opportunity to do so.

Leaning firstly on the North American corpus, this key book critically engages with writings on the formation of white identities in Britain, Ireland and the Americas, using multidisciplinary sources. Empirical work done in the UK, including the author's own, is developed in order to suggest how whiteness functions in Britain.

Bringing an emphasis on empirical work to a heavily theorized area, this important text synthesizes and reviews existing work, incorporates multidisciplinary sources of interest to those outside the sociology sphere, and features concise chapters which will engage undergraduates. Garner deftly argues that whiteness is a multifaceted, contingent and fluid identity, and that it must be incorporated into any contemporary understandings of racism as a system of power relationships in both its local and global forms.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Whiteness as Terror and Supremacy  2. Whiteness as a Kind of Absence  3. Whiteness as Values, Norms and Cultural Capital  4. Whiteness as Contingent Hierarchies  5. Whiteness in the Caribbean and Latin America  6. Whiteness at the Margins  7. How the Irish Became White (Again)  8. Asylumgration: The Others Blur  9. Racial Purity, Integration and the Idea of Home.  Conclusion: In Defence of the Whiteness Problematic

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Steve Garner is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He has published on racism, immigration, whiteness and colonialism.


"Garner’s book on whiteness is a very powerful tool which I will use as a critical lens in which to understand racism and its relational systems of subordination and oppression as sustained through the construction of whiteness."— Howard Johnson, Secondary School Teacher