Racism and Anti-racism in Europe by Alana Lentin (London, Anne Arbor, Mich, Pluto Press, c2004)
Book Reviews, Arranged in Reverse Chronological Order, i.e. most recent first
2006. Youlanda M. Gibbons, Contemporary Sociology 35(6) (from Alana Lentin's website).
Alana Lentin’s work, Racism and Anti-Racism in Europe is simply remarkable. Lentin’s work captures successfully the sociological phenomenon of racism and antiracism through analyses of discourse and praxis. This book provides a theorization of anti-racism as an observation that exists in relation to the public political culture of the nation-state. Comprehensive, comparative, and substantive in nature, Racism and Anti-Racism in Europe provides an analysis of discourses and practices of anti-racist activists in the post-War period. Indeed, on the surface, Lentin’s work offers in-depth insight into European anti-racism organizations; however, at its core, the book centers on the histories of European states and the political processes they tend to engender. Toward this end, Lentin provides compelling evidence of an anti-racist worldview.
‘Remarkable ... a major contribution to our understanding and handling of one of the crucial contemporary issues that acquires more gravity by the day.’ Zygmunt Bauman
This is an in-depth sociological study of the phenomenon of anti-racism, as both political discourse and social movement practice in western Europe. Lentin develops a comparative study of anti-racism in Britain, France, Italy and Ireland. While ‘race’ and racism have been submitted to many profound analyses, anti-racism has often been dealt with as either the mere opposite of racism or as a theme for prescriptives or polemics by those concerned with the persistence of racist discrimination. By contrast, this book views anti-racism as a variety of discourses that are central to the understanding of the politics of modern states. Examining anti-racism gives us insights not only into current debates on citizenship, immigration and Europeanisation, but it also crucially assists us in understanding the nature of race, racism and racialisation themselves. At a time of mounting state racism against asylum seekers, migrants and refugees throughout Europe and beyond, this book provides a much-needed exploration of the discourse of anti-racism that shapes policy and public opinion today.