Rowman and Littlefield International
Rethinking Racial Capitalism

Rethinking Racial Capitalism

Questions of Reproduction and Survival

By Gargi Bhattacharyya

Part of the series Cultural Studies and Marxism

Publication Date: Jul 2018

Pages 224


Hardback 9781783488841
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Paperback 9781783488858
£24.95 €34.95 $39.95
Ebook 9781783488865
£24.95 €34.95 $37.95

How has capitalism created or enhanced racism? In what ways do the violent histories of slavery and empire continue to influence the allocation of global resources?

Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival proposes a return to analyses of racial capitalism – the capitalism that is inextricably linked with histories of racist expropriation – and argues that it is only by tracking the interconnections between changing modes of capitalism and racism that we can hope to address the most urgent challenges of social injustice. It considers the continuing impact of global histories of racist expropriation on more recent articulations of capitalism, with a particular focus on the practices of racial capitalism, the continuing impact of uneven development, territory and border-marking, the place of reproductive labour in sustaining racial capitalism, the marketing of diversity as a consumer pleasure and the creation of supposedly 'surplus' populations.

1. What racial capitalism isn't and what it is / 2. The practices of racial capitalism / 3. Uneven development and the solidification of racialised destinies / 4. Territory and borders – racial capitalism and sovereignty in crisis / 5. Subsistence economics in the crevices of capitalism / 6. Marketing diversity / Conclusion: On not being part of the reserve army of labour/ Bibliography/ Index

Full of intellectual energy and wit, Rethinking Racial Capitalism is a fascinating account of the entanglements between capitalism and racism, from the proliferation of territorial borders, to reparations and indebtedness. Fulfilling her promise of descriptive analysis, Bhattacharyya’s storytelling is rich, alert, vibrant. Capitalism’s allure appears as a hot bath, a teenage outfit, the opening of a menu. I didn’t want the book to end.

Yasmin Gunaratnam, Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths University of London, UK

To read Gargi Bhattacharyya is always enlightening: she teaches how to think, not just what to think; she engages her readers as citizens, not just professors; and she grounds her scholarship in movements for liberation. Rethinking Racial Capitalism will transform our understanding of one of the key issues of the day – how capitalism and racism work together.

Arun Kundnani, New York University

An acutely observed, innovative and thought-provoking study of the articulation of racism with the development of capitalism. Replete with intersectional insights, it extends contemporary debate through a feminist lens. Careful socio-economic and political analysis is complemented with attention to issues of affect such as the trans-generational carryover of trauma. An excellent combination of analytical rigour with political acumen and compassion. A must-read for anyone concerned about the effects of racial capitalism.

Avtar Brah, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London

[Bhattacharyya] uses the concept of "racial capitalism" to understand how racism enables major aspects of capitalist forms of development [and] argues that the concepts on which racial capitalism is based can also be used to marginalize groups by gender identity, disability, and age.


Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the Centre For Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London, UK

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