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The Force of Prejudice

On Racism and Its Doubles

2001
Author:

Pierre-André Taguieff
Hassan Melehy, editor
Translated by Hassan Melehy

The Force of Prejudice

A clear look at the nature of racist thought and how to fight against it.

Pierre-André Taguieff puts forward a powerful thesis: that racism has evolved from an argument about races, naturalizing inequality between “biologically” defined groups on the basis of fear of the other, to an argument about cultures, naturalizing historical differences and justifying exclusion. Correspondingly, Taguieff shows how antiracism must adopt the strategy that fits the variety of racism it opposes. Already viewed as an essential work of reference in France, The Force of Prejudice is an invaluable tool for identifying and understanding both racism and its antidote in our day.

Contradictions Series, volume 13

Reinvigorates the debate on racism ...the book is well researched and offers a detailed and exhaustive scholarly and popular range of racist and antiracist discourse. This book is invaluable for individuals who want to examine themselves about racism.

International Criminal Justice Review

Can humanity escape segregating behavior or master the tendency to exclusion? Where does the force of prejudice come from? How might one conceive the philosophical foundations of an effective antiracism? Pursuing these questions, Pierre-André Taguieff puts forward a powerful thesis: that racism has evolved from an argument about races, naturalizing inequality between "biologically" defined groups on the basis of fear of the other, to an argument about cultures, naturalizing historical differences and justifying exclusion. Correspondingly, he shows how antiracism must adopt the strategy that fits the variety of racism it opposes.

Looking at racial and racist theories one by one and then at their antiracist counterparts, Taguieff traces an intellectual genealogy of differentialist and inegalitarian ways of thinking. Already viewed as an essential work of reference in France, The Force of Prejudice is an invaluable tool for identifying and understanding both racism and its antidote in our day.

The Force of Prejudice

Pierre-André Taguieff, philosopher and historian of political ideas, is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France.

Hassan Melehy is assistant professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut.

The Force of Prejudice

Reinvigorates the debate on racism ...the book is well researched and offers a detailed and exhaustive scholarly and popular range of racist and antiracist discourse. This book is invaluable for individuals who want to examine themselves about racism.

International Criminal Justice Review

This book offers an erudite and rigorous analysis of the two antinomic logics of racism, the one inequalitarian or heterophobic, which refuses to admit difference and fosters exploitation, the other differentialist or heterophiliac, which celebrates difference as justification for exclusion. It demonstrates that antiracist discourse and action must fit the particular species of racial domination they face if they are to be effective. This is scholarship with civic tenor and practical implications, a rare event in the field.

Loïc Wacquant, University of California, Berkeley, and Centre de sociologie européenne du Collège de France

“This book offers an erudite and rigorous analysis of the two antinomic logics of racism, the one inequalitarian or heterophobic, which refuses to admit difference and fosters exploitation, the other differentialist or heterophiliac, which celebrates difference as justification for exclusion. . . . This is scholarship with civic tenor and practical implications, a rare event in the field.” Loïc Wacquant, University of California, Berkeley, and Centre de sociologie européenne du Collège de France

“The work of a philosopher and a political scholar, The Force of Prejudice offers rich information for each of these two fields. . . . Pierre-André Taguieff reworks, step by step, the progress of different attempts to theorize racist prejudice and its complementary double, antiracism. . . . His choice is that of an open universality, where the duties and obligations relating to humans disappear under their ‘rights,’ and where inhumanity will be banished.” Le Monde