Technologies of Belonging: The Absent Presence of Race in Europe

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-05-22 01:04Z by Steven

Technologies of Belonging: The Absent Presence of Race in Europe

Science Technology Human Values
Volume 39, Number 4 (July 2014)
pages 459-467
DOI: 10.1177/0162243914531149

Amade M’charek, Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Katharina Schramm, Lecturer
Institute for Social Anthropology
Martin Luther Universität, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

David Skinner, Research Convener; Reader in Sociology
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom

In many European countries, the explicit discussion of race as a biological phenomenon has long been avoided. This has not meant that race has become obsolete or irrelevant all together. Rather, it is a slippery object that keeps shifting and changing. To understand its slippery nature, we suggest that race in Europe is best viewed as an absent presence, something that oscillates between reality and nonreality, which appears on the surface and then hides underground. In this special issue, we explore how race has been configured in different practices and how race-based identities and technologies are entwined in various European settings.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,

Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging [Kate Reed Review]

Posted in Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-03-07 00:38Z by Steven

Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging [Kate Reed Review]

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 36, Issue 3, 2013
Special Issue: Racialization and Religion: Race, culture and difference in the study of Antisemitism and Islamophobia
pages 517-518
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.734393

Kate Reed, Senior Lecturer in Medical Sociology
University of Sheffield

Katharina Schramm,  David Skinner and Richard Rottenburg (eds.) Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012 (Volume 6 of Studies of the Biosocial Society), vi +221 pp. (hardback).

This is an interesting edited collection on race, ethnicity, identity and genetics. Focusing on exploring the intersections between genetic research and technology and the social and political construction of identities, the book offers a timely and original contribution to debates in the field. It explores the often uneasy relationship between new genetics and the politics of race, ethnicity and nation, highlighting the co-production of science and politics in the process. The text covers a range of issues related to race, ethnicity, identity and genetics at global, national, and local levels. It aims to unpack the concept of identity, further exploring the ways in which genetics affects local/global discussions of ethnicity and race. Overall, the book successfully highlights the complex and often contradictory nature of the relationship between politics and science.

After the editors’ introduction outlines the main themes and concerns of the collection, the volume begins with a contribution by Andrew Smart, Richard Tatton, Paul Martin and George Ellison. Their chapter offers a conceptual engagement with debates about social constructivism. They stress the importance of fluidity and flexibility in identity politics surrounding race and genetics on the one hand, without losing the focus on racialzation and racism as both historical and contemporary processes on the other. In chapter 2, David Skinner stays with the issue of race, categorization and genetics, this time focusing on the British criminal justice system. Skinner situates the emerging biopolitics of race, genetics and identity within the context of a varied and changing use of official systems of racial and ethnic categorization. Peter Wade’s chapter is also concerned with the changing dynamics of racial classification, particularly regarding the notion of “race-kinship congruity”. Drawing…

Read or purchase the review here.

Tags: , , , ,

Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-18 03:04Z by Steven

Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging

Berghahn Books
January 2012
226 pages
tables & figs, bibliog., index
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-85745-253-5

Edited by:

Katharina Schramm, Senior Lecturer of Social Anthropology
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

David Skinner, Reader in Sociology
Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom

Richard Rottenburg, Professor Social Anthropology
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Racial and ethnic categories have appeared in recent scientific work in novel ways and in relation to a variety of disciplines: medicine, forensics, population genetics and also developments in popular genealogy. Once again, biology is foregrounded in the discussion of human identity. Of particular importance is the preoccupation with origins and personal discovery and the increasing use of racial and ethnic categories in social policy. This new genetic knowledge, expressed in technology and practice, has the potential to disrupt how race and ethnicity are debated, managed and lived. As such, this volume investigates the ways in which existing social categories are both maintained and transformed at the intersection of the natural (sciences) and the cultural (politics). The contributors include medical researchers, anthropologists, historians of science and sociologists of race relations; together, they explore the new and challenging landscape where biology becomes the stuff of identity.


  • List of Illustrations and Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Ideas in Motion: Making Sense of Identity After DNA; Katharina Schramm, David Skinner, Richard Rottenburg
  • Chapter 1. ‘Race’ as a Social Construction in Genetics; Andrew Smart, Richard Tutton, Paul Martin, George Ellison
  • Chapter 2. Mobile Identities and Fixed Categories: Forensic DNA and the Politics of Racialised Data; David Skinner
  • Chapter 3. Race, Kinship and the Ambivalence of Identity; Peter Wade
  • Chapter 4. Identity, DNA, and the State in Post-Dictatorship Argentina; Noa Vaisman
  • Chapter 5. ‘Do You Have Celtic, Jewish, Germanic Roots?’ – Applied Swiss History Before and After DNA; Marianne Sommer
  • Chapter 6. Irish DNA: Making Connections and Making Distinctions in Y-Chromosome Surname Studies; Catherine Nash
  • Chapter 7. Genomics en route: Ancestry, Heritage, and the Politics of Identity Across the Black Atlantic; Katharina Schramm
  • Chapter 8. Biotechnological Cults of Affliction? Race, Rationality, and Enchantment in Personal Genomic Histories; Stephan Palmié
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,