ppoint6 - 4/22/10 ANT2 Introduction to Cultural...

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4/22/10 1 ANT2 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology April 22, 2010 Prof. Sawyer What is “race” for Stuart Hall? Race is a major concept that organizes the classificatory systems of difference which operate in human societies. What does it mean to claim that race is a “floating signifier”? Signifier= a core element in creating the systems (mental maps) that a society uses to make meaning of and classify the world. Race has meaning not because refers to internal essence, but rather… because of relations of difference which it establishes with other concepts and ideas in the signifying field. relations of difference articulated with and through power Nothing wrong with classifying problem comes when modes of classification correlate with and are used to substantiate distributions of power, access, resources, health, well being How do racial classificatory systems work? Answer: There are differences of all sorts in the world, but only when these differences are organized within systems of signification, can the differences be said to acquire importance and affect human behavior. – way that difference is organized and given meaning is the effect of power and history. – no predestined. – influences patterns of—residence, association, education, labor, wealth, security, and death.
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4/22/10 2 • The trap in racism is that it allows what is manifestly there (what W.E.B. Du Bois called the differences of color, hair, bones) to stand in the place of one of the most profound and complex of the cultural systems that we have. • The apparently banal fact of race requires
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ppoint6 - 4/22/10 ANT2 Introduction to Cultural...

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