Concrete and Abstract Racial Domination

Article


Preston, J. 2010. Concrete and Abstract Racial Domination. Power and Education. 2 (2), pp. 115-125.
AuthorsPreston, J.
Abstract

The debate between Mike Cole and David Gillborn which has raged in Power
and Education and elsewhere is indicative of a widening schism between Marxism and critical
race theory. To describe this debate as orientated around the status of ‘race’ or ‘class’ as the
central object of social theory, such as in the current debate about the ‘white working class’
in education, is unhelpful. Rather than see race and class as interdependent systems of
concrete domination (where one group, or class, oppress another), this article examines how
capitalism brings about an abstract system of domination by race (abstract racial
domination). Using the work of Marx, Postone and Du Bois, the article considers that race as
capital rather than humanity as racialised labour, is specific to capitalist modes of production.
Racialised bodies are already capitalised as ‘tertium quid’ – a Du Boisian ‘third thing’ rather
than solely as labour or capital. Whites are the ‘small masters’ of ‘sham capital’ (whiteness)
but are dominated by their own (perceived and socially constructed) phenotype. In terms of
praxis, the article argues that critical pedagogies from both critical race and Marxist strands
should work towards the abolition of whiteness as a manifestation of capital.

Keywordsrace; clas; education
JournalPower and Education
Journal citation2 (2), pp. 115-125
ISSN1757-7438
Year2010
PublisherSymposium Journals Ltd.
Publisher's version
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/power.2010.2.2.115
Publication dates
Print2010
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Mar 2013
Copyright information(c) Symposium Journals Ltd. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/power.2010.2.2.115
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