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Post-race, Post-Politics: the paradoxical rise of culture after multiculturalism

My latest article has been published ‘Online First’ in Ethnic and Racial Studies.


Declarations of the end of race ignore the continuing impact of racism upon socio-economic inequality in ‘racial states’. Nevertheless, the idea of post-racialism has gained ground in a post-9/11 era, defined by a growing suspicion of diversity. Clearly racialized, this suspicion is couched in cultural-civilizational terms that attempt to avoid the charge of racism. Hence, attempts to counteract the purported failure of multiculturalism in Europe today pose culturalist solutions to problems deemed to originate from an excess of cultural diversity. This is part of a deepening culturalization of politics in which the post-race argument belongs to a post-political logic that shuns political explanations of unrest and widening disintegration in favour of reductive culturalist ones. The culturalization of politics is elaborated by relating it to the displacement of the political that originated with the nineteenth-century ascendance of race, thus setting ‘post-racialism’ firmly within the history of modern racism.

Alana Lentin