Becoming Caucasian: Vicissitudes of whiteness in American politics and culture

Authors
Citation
Mf. Jacobson, Becoming Caucasian: Vicissitudes of whiteness in American politics and culture, IDENTITIES, 8(1), 2001, pp. 83-104
Citations number
57
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
IDENTITIES-GLOBAL STUDIES IN CULTURE AND POWER
ISSN journal
1070-289X → ACNP
Volume
8
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
83 - 104
Database
ISI
SICI code
1070-289X(200103)8:1<83:BCVOWI>2.0.ZU;2-8
Abstract
We perceive "race" as a feature of the natural landscape, fixed in the unch anging realities of biology, but racial categories change markedly in respo nse to shifting political, economic, and social circumstances across histor ical time. In the United States conceptions of "race" function as idioms of power, mediating the conflicting imperatives of a capitalist economy and a porous, democratic political culture: where labor demands generate demogra phic diversity, "race" is deployed to describe the civic virtues or shortco mings of the many peoples on the American scene. The racialization and rera cialization of European immigrants across three periods in U.S. history (17 90-1840s; 1840s-1920s; and 1920s-1960s) demonstrates the mutability of raci al constructions and their political character. The racial languages and lo gics of Laura Z. Hobson's 1947 novel Centleman's Agreement demonstrate the instability of "whiteness" as a monolithic category anti the unevenness in racial "certainty" as one regime of racial knowledge gives way to the next.