The World Is a Ghetto has 60 ratings and 3 reviews. Howard Winant argues that race remains crucial both for contemporary politics and for concepts of identity. In The World Is a Ghetto Howard Winant reinterprets post-WWII racial Winant not only deepens our understanding of race as both a contemporary and. The World Is a Ghetto compares post-World War II racial dynamics in four countries Howard Winant argues that race remains crucial both for.

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The World Is a Ghetto: Howard Winant argues that race remains crucial both for contemporary politics and for concepts of identity and culture. By investigating how economic development, labor processes, the ideals of howarrd and popular The World Is a Ghetto compares post-World War II racial dynamics in four countries or regions: By investigating how economic development, labor processes, the ideals of democracy and popular sovereignty, patterns of social stratification, and even concepts of social and individual identity have been affected by the role race has played hiward the modern global democracy, Winant provides a new critique of racial exclusion and inequality.

The World Is a Ghetto: Race and Democracy Since World War II by Howard Winant

An invaluable tool for understanding the role of race in contemporary global politics, The World Is a Ghetto provides a sobering history of the real successes of movements for racial justice and democracy both in the U.

Paperbackpages. Published June 6th by Basic Books first published January 28th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The World Is a Fheplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The World Is a Ghetto. Lists with This Book. Mar 08, Andrea rated it really liked it Shelves: This is such a good book, while at the same time strangely soporific.

The World is a Ghetto: Race and Democracy Since World War II – Howard Winant – Google Books

It took me a while to get through it, and some nodding off on the bus, but I felt virtuous at the end Here is the big picture of what he thinks necessary and the work he is trying to do: What is obsolete, however, are traditional or parochial ways of analyzing the matter of race. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, at the dawn of a hiward millennium, there is a pressing need for a new global approach to race that takes This is such a good book, while at the same time strangely soporific.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, at the dawn of a new millennium, there is a pressing need for a new global approach to race that takes into ghefto the new, “cleaned-up” racial ideologies or post-racial perspectives I have mentioned. Adequately to understand the importance of race–historical and contemporary–requires us to reconsider many of our ideas and assumptions about modernity, development, labor, democracy, identity, culture, and indeed, our concepts of social action and agency.

Taken as a whole, these are the coordinates of all social theory. We need a new, racially more adequate, theoretical compass if we want to navigate properly in the twenty-first-century world. A tall order, a clearly beyond the scope of one book, though this attempts much of it.


But his main focus dinant on the World War II break noted by so many: My thesis is that the upsurge of worlr activity since World War II constitutes a fundamental and historical shift, a global rupture or “break,” in the continuity of worldwide white supremacy. Throughout this book I use the term break to refer to the mid-century challenge to the continuity of world racial rule over the longue duree of the modern epoch.

The origins and contours of that shift are at the center of this work. But still, he takes the long way round to get to this point. This is a deeply historical work that argues that ‘modernity itself is a global racial formation winxnt.

This argument hinges on the presence of racial dynamics, key processes of racial formation, in all the main constitutive relationships that structured the origins and development of the modern world system.

These crucial relationships involved the making of new forms of empire and nation ; the organization of new systems of capital and laborand the articulation of new concepts of culture and identity. Because these are circular and cumulative processes, they must be understood as thoroughly intertwined; there is no need or possibility of proposing one of these three as primary or causative.


It is interesting to see him draw on Gunnar Myrdal here, usually seen as a theorist of development, and whose enormous tome trying to come to grips with race as the principle ‘American Dilemna’ I found incredibly racist in a liberal way when I skimmed it over. But I’ve been meaning to get back to it properly. But I suppose that doesn’t take away from the strength of all of his theory. There is actually fairly brilliant to get a summation of Winant’s own ghrtto influential theory laid out in his work with Michael Omi on the racial project: In this approach, the key element in racial formation is the link between signification and structure, between what race means in a particular discursive practice and how, based upon such interpretations, social structures are racially organized.

The link between meaning and structure, discourse and institution, signification ghstto organization, is concretized in the notion of the racial project.

To interpret the meaning of race in a particular way at a given time is at least implicitly, but more often explicitly, to propose or defend a certain racial policy, a specific racialized social structure, a racial order.

By studying the range of racial projects in given historical contexts it becomes possible to study given racial formation processes in detail, giving particular attention to the ways in which projects intersect Omi and Winant The key thing is to understand how racism is foundational to our society, and how it continues to shape everything even in a world where some can even argue that racism no longer exists.

In short, we are witnessing the dawn of a new form of racial hegemony. In the twenty-first century, race will no longer be invoked to legitimate crucial social structures of inequality, exploitation, and injustice. Appeals to white superiority will not serve, as they did in the bad old days. Law, political and human rights, as well as concepts of equality, fairness, and human difference will therefore increasingly be framed in “race-neutral” terms.

Yet the race-concept will wunant to work at the interface of identity and inequality, social structure and cultural signification. The rearticulation of in equality in an ostensibly color-blind framework emphasizing individualism and meritocracy, it turns out, preserves the legacy hoawrd racial hierarchy far more effectively than its explicit defense Crenshaw et al.

But getting back to history, I love the way he sees the struggle over slavery and racial domination not simply in terms of black freedom, which in itself is a key thing, but also the struggle itself as being fundamental.

It was through this struggle, not as a result of it, that democracy is truly born, the means as important as the end, and both central to the formation of worle world.

Thus, incomplete and uneven as it was, the assault on slavery launched modern politics. Beginning with abolitionism, the dominated and excluded of the world embarked on a long journey. They began the continuing effort to put an [] end to empire and colonialism, winannt extend political and human rights to the ends of the earth.

Review of “The World Is A Ghetto: Race and Democracy Since World War II” by Howard Winant

Abolitionism was the social moyement that first included racially identified subjects-the colonized, the formerly enslaved, the subaltern-on the terrain of the political. Not the fulfillment of abolitionist goals, but the launching and spread of the movement, marked the beginning of the socialization of the political, of the extension of political rights toward the universal.

And of course back to the key argument in more explicit terms I am cheating a bit with such extensive quotes I know, but they’re good! So the global racial formation process had global political consequences.

Not only did race shape the modern world in a joward many ways: But it also established the overall contours, as well as the particular political and cultural legacies, of subordination and resistance.

Racial rule meant the restriction or even the foreclosure of the political terrain upon which colonized and enslaved people, subaltern groups, could mobilize within civil society. It thus constituted wor,d groups as outside what civil society there was.

Racial rule denied the emergence of commonalities among colonizers and colonized, Europeans and non-Europeans, whites and “others. The movement was repeatedly forced to choose between radicalism and moderation: The latter was a political necessity, a pragmatic imperative in the real situation where let it be remembered whites vastly outnumbered blacks. Furthermore, reliance upon and support for racial hierarchy and privilege was largely unconstrained: This idea of limits is so important, though I don’t think it is explored quite enough here, or perhaps not in the ways I find satisfying enough.


I think it explains his interpretation of the civil rights and Black power movements which I find extremely interesting, though I’m not sure I agree. It is a key issue for struggle though, always, how you mix the ideal and the pragmatic to maximum effect.

But he writes The emergence of the civil rights movement in the post-World War II years revitalized the democratic agenda at the height of the Cold War and after the blight of McCarthyism.

Yet the movement, for all its promise, was itself deeply divided: Although it accomplished the goals of the moderates, the movement failed to confront the embeddedness of race in the social and psychic structures of American life. Both moderates and radicals played a w in this failure. Moderates accepted the limited concession of integrationist reforms and an adequate institutional response to movement demands. Radicals rejected these concessions, but gave their faith to revolutionary programs– both nationalist and socialist–that were inappropriate to the U.

These combined with riots or “uprisings” — spontaneous outbursts of mass anger, looting, and disruption– to fuel state racial policies of repression.

The result was that the movement’s relatively manageable demands were incorporated within the status quo, while its radical demands for social justice and black power–with their disruptive, participatory, and redistributive content-were systematically rejected.

The key moment in worpd book for me, though perhaps this is influenced largely by tye I myself am working on now, was this final discussion of race and racism in today’s setting: In the age of racial hegemony, then, what forms does racism take?

To the extent that the transition from domination to hegemony has been accomplished, it is racism’s reinforced structural role, its “cleaned-up,” “streamlined” worod “mainstream” manifestations, that allow it to survive and indeed go largely politically unchallenged at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Racism has been largely — although not entirely, to be sure–detached from its perpetrators.

In its most advanced forms, indeed, it has no perpetrators; it is a nearly invisible, taken-for-granted, commonsense Gramsci feature of everyday life and global structure. It leaves enough room to contain the old, instrumental, forms of racism–such as prejudice and discrimination, racial code words, and the like–but focuses attention on new, structural forms that can operate more or less automatically.

It incorporates the analyses that critiqued the European new racism Barker ; Taguieff []; Miles ; Wieviorka winaant Ansell ; Gilroybut seeks to place that important work in a global framework. I think for the most part this is true, overt racism still exists to be sure, but more common, and much harder to combat, is this ‘colourblind’ discourse and policy that still results in the reality that in every measurable indicator, whites remain better off that everyone else around the world.

All in all I found this a most valuable book, full of things that I will be thinking about gherto playing with in relation to research and other critical race theory. I don’t know enough about the South African and Brazilian contexts to be able to judge how well they are described and theorised.

They definitely made of this book a giant, though important to the argument that racial formation has been a global process with certain global characteristics alongside immense local variation.

It is definitely an important challenge to think more globally, and how this can most effectively happen.

Mar 05, Anna rated it liked it. Content is great, but the style is all over the place. Perhaps Omi is the one with the talent for academic writing that doesn’t drain your brain? May 14, Hedda added it. I think this would be really interesting, but my attention span is shot. I tried to read it four times, and four times I fell asleep.