Psychoanalysis and Racism – Reading the Other Scene

I was asked by John Solomos to write a chapter for his ‘Blackwell Companion on Race and Ethnic Studies’ giving a critical survey of psychoanalytic theories  of race and racism. These theories were viewed with great suspicion, some of it justified, by the Anti Racist Left, although much of their dismissive attitude  was based on ignorance or misunderstanding. I wrote an essay which  introduced the main  theories of Freud and the post Freudians, as well as Kleinian and Lacanian concepts. The work of Fanon and the Frankfurt school is discussed at length, as well as more recent work by Daniel Sibony and Julia Kristeva. The focus of the argument is on rethinking the notion of Unconscious racism, and understanding the role of phantasy and desire in   the working of the racist imagination. Read the full text here:  Psychoanalysis and Racism Reading the Other Scene

Yesterday’s Words, Tomorrow’s World: Issues in Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption was one of the most fraught and contest areas of social welfare policy in the 1990’s in Britain. In this essay commissioned for a book about  adoption policy I survey the history of the debate  about adoption  and about race, focussing on their critical points of intersection. The discussion deconstructs essentialised notions of ethnic identity and the official adoption story  as a teleological tale of bad beginnings leading to happy endings.  This is contrasted with the notion of adoptive identity as a site of multiple negotiations mediated by what Freud called the family Romance.  The text was written for a collection on  adoption policy   In the Best Interests of the Child published in 2002. Read the full text here:  Yesterday’s Words

Playgrounds of Prejudice

This video is based on visual ethnography of a primary school playground in Docklands east London and centres of the fight between a Black and white working class boy, and its various interpretations by teachers, playground supervisors and  the children themselves.  The video  is linked to the discussion in chapter six of Borderscapes.

Front Lines Back Yards

This text explores the imagery of race, and nation that has historically been associated  with populist narratives of ‘Little Englandism’. It was originally given to a conference ‘Front lines, Backyards’  that I organised at the Institute of Education in  London in 1997 and published in a special issue of New Formations, co-edited with Bill Schwartz  the following year. The full text is available here:  Front Lines Back Yards This video presents highlights of the conference, with contributions from the main speakers, interviews with delegates, and presentations from some of the poets and artists who took part.