Beyond the 'Race' Concept: The Reproduction of Racism in England


  • Robert Miles


This paper has two objectives. First, it will summarise and develop my critique of the sociology of 'race relations' and the way in which it utilises the idea of 'race' as an analytical concept. It will be concluded from this that it is necessary to show why and how the idea of 'race' is employed in social relations rather than take for granted its commonsense status. The concepts of racialisation and racism will be shown to be central to this task. Second, as a way of illustrating the significance of this argument, I shall consider a key phase in the racialisation of domestic English politics. I show, first, how the 1964/ 70 Labour government initially employed the idea of 'race' to problematise the migrant presence in favour of the ex-posure of racism and, second, how Enoch Powell subverted a later attempt to do the latter by an ideological intervention which employed the category of 'nation' as an allusion to the idea of 'race'.