Race matters: cross-cultural understandings of whiteness and blackness in Australia and the UK

Henry-Waring, Millsom and Bhopal, Kalwant (2008) Race matters: cross-cultural understandings of whiteness and blackness in Australia and the UK. In, Re-Imagining Sociology: The annual conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008, Melbourne, Australia, 02 - 05 Dec 2008.


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The focus on whiteness as a subject of inquiry and analysis in its own right has recently become a popular theme within academic understandings of identity and Otherness. However, such research has primarily focused on the US, this study aims to examine specifically, the social construction and maintenance of Whiteness within tertiary educational settings within Australia and the UK.

Although different in terms of historical and other contexts, Australia, like the UK has a complex relationship and understanding of 'race'. There is little research which takes a comparative perspective in focusing on understandings of Whiteness and its meanings in different cultural environments. The paper will examine such understandings by focusing on degree student’s understandings of whiteness and blackness. Leonardo (2002:31) argues that Whiteness is a racial discourse, whereas the category white people represent is a socially constructed identity. To understand whiteness, however there is also a need to understand blackness or otherness. Bonnett has indicated, Whiteness has developed into a taken-for-granted experience structured upon a varying set of supremacist assumptions (sometimes cultural, sometimes biological, sometimes moral, sometimes all three). Non-White identities, by contrast, have been denied the privileges of normativity, and are marked within the West as marginal and inferior.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: race, whiteness, blackness, identity, education, cross-cultural comparison
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Social Justice and Inclusive Education
ePrint ID: 64260
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
5 December 2008Delivered
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:49
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/64260

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