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Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  754 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
First published in 1986, Racial Formation in the United States is now considered a classic in the literature on race and ethnicity.

This second edition builds upon and updates Omi and Winant's groundbreaking research. In addition to a preface to the new edition, the book provides a more detailed account of the theory of racial formation processes. It includes material on t
Paperback, Second (Revised) Edition, 240 pages
Published March 22nd 1994 by Routledge
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Feb 20, 2008 Owen rated it it was amazing
The bible of racial theory. Another top five book in terms of changing how I view myself and the world. Ever wondered what "race" is? Read this book.
Aug 23, 2016 Drick rated it it was amazing
For anyone seeking to understand the role that race and racism has played in the cultural and political life of the US this book is a must. After discussing previous theories of how race was believed to interact with other demographic factors (ethnicity, class and nation), the authors ( actually read the 1986 edition by Omi and Winant) put forth their theory that contends that social, economic and political factors determine the content and importance of racial categories, and have shaped the me ...more
Mar 20, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory, race
Another foundational book of racial theory, there is so much to love here. I found it immensely useful in thinking through both race and racism. I loved its focus on how things change, what was successful and what was not of the tremendous movements of the 1960s and 70s, and the how things were shaping up in the 1990s, at the moment when it was written. Such a focus is vital for those committed to action, and there is a lot to think over here in strategizing for lasting changes towards some semb ...more
Abby Brown
Apr 17, 2013 Abby Brown rated it really liked it
Omi and Winant wrote Racial Formation in the United States to outline historical race theories, develop their theory of racial formation in the racial state, and apply their racial formation theory to recent history from the 1960s to the 1990s. The authors argue most racial theories fit into three ideal-type categories of ethnicity, class, and nation (Omi and Winant 1993:11). They describe how ethnicity arose in the 1920s in response to biologisitc conceptions of race. Ethnicity conceptions, of ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Kristin rated it it was amazing
this is a review of the original, first edition - although i sort of wish i'd realized that they'd published a third edition before i started reading the first one. doh! regardless, this book rings incredibly true even nearly 30 years later - truly a classic text that argues why/how race is a fundamental organizing construct of US american political and social life. particularly appropriate/interesting to read in the context of the current racial climate, ferguson protests, etc. this book offers ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Aaron rated it liked it
I am not convinced this was written well. Interesting historical perspective that pops up, but their interpretation of Gramsci's hegemony seems a bit confused and muddled, which while an abstract concept shouldn't be as hard to describe as they have made it. I do appreciate them trying though. I'm also not convinced entirely by their critique of Nation, and also think it would have helped to (de)complicate the model of race, ethnicity, class and nation in regards to hegemony by using a more ecol ...more
The Awdude
Jan 19, 2011 The Awdude rated it it was ok
This book may have been a valuable contribution to critical race theory when it was first written, what with the Reagan farce fresh in everyone's minds, but I fail to see what all the fuss is about. O&M's argument is basically this: Race is both real and disucrsive because it shapes socio-political environs as well as being shaped by them, and the neoliberal/conservative emphasis on striving for a "color-blind" American society is a regression in racial policy that will continue to reinforce ...more
John Cutler
Jun 10, 2014 John Cutler rated it really liked it
Two basic points: (1) race is still important, and (2) it's not what you think it is. Provocative and nuanced analysis of the significance of race from the civil rights era through the Reagan administration. Read this to understand better neo-con attacks on Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Desh Wallace
Feb 28, 2016 Desh Wallace rated it it was amazing
Great book on the understanding of race theory and the how "race" is created in the West.
Jul 28, 2008 Tannya rated it liked it
This is a really amazing book. I have read articles and sections of it in several of my classes at UofO. These authors/professors write with great insight into these subjects. I can't wait to read the entire book from cover to cover.

OK so now that I am done reading the entire was pretty good. I found it somewhat redundant, and I felt also that it left out some important aspect of racial theory. It was great however, as a reference book for this class to really compare it with other mo
Jan 15, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it
I'll have more in a bit but I'm reading this for a class on the history of education in the United States; I find it important, opinionated, dense, extremely analytical, objective, critical, and a little piercing (like the issue of race itself). I think the argument here is meant to teach the reader that race is much more than we think and the issue of racism is something that still dwells within us. We strive for equality and we get there through active work and an active consciousness. That's ...more
Rizky Hutapea
Dec 19, 2014 Rizky Hutapea rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2013 Neisha rated it really liked it
Very useful addition to critical theory. Omi and Wiant move beyond an ideological definition of race, and provide and interesting interpretation of Gramsci's hegemonic theory. With their conceptual definition of race we are able to challenge notions of race as biological and essential. However I will briefly note that this approach does not deeply theorize the relations between social structures and agency to further understandings of the role of racism in everyday practices.
Apr 03, 2016 Unentschieden rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It is very useful to me because it made some stuff clearer about the perception of race in the US.
Tressie Mcphd
Jan 27, 2013 Tressie Mcphd rated it it was amazing
The fetishization of racism as an individual perversion obscures institutional racism. Omi and Winant's is a structural argument that challenges that. They want to bring institutions back into racial theory. The focus on role of State but it's not only true of the State. Macro argument, specific to US context. Must read.
Jose Palafox
Aug 05, 2009 Jose Palafox rated it it was amazing
A classic text in Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Postcolonial Studies, Diaspora studies. This work, along with Prof. Ronald Takaki's "Iron Cages" (1979) seminal works the theories and methods of Comparative and Interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies. Prof. Takaki (RIP) was Michael Omi's dissertation adviser at UC berkeley.
Feb 18, 2008 YunJin rated it it was amazing
for people who are unfamiliar with these sorts of studies, i would suggest reading the conclusion first because it sort of requires some prerequisite knowledge. chapter seven (race and reaction) was kickass and made me feel like kitty cat whiskers were tickling my face.
Feb 10, 2011 Monica rated it liked it
Good book. It is very good at providing a foundation to what race is NOT. It clarifies terms like ethnicity, nationalism, etc. It is an easy read - some complexity in the use of language but not bad at all if you are interested in the topic of race.
Leigh Cross
Jul 09, 2009 Leigh Cross rated it it was amazing
This is the most comprehensive and accurate account of race in American politics for the era that it covers (1960s to 1990s) - it is the closest thing to a "primer" on race that exists. An essential for anyone interested in issues of race.
Oct 02, 2008 Yvonne rated it it was amazing
This book is my bible for understanding racial formation in the U.S. and in other countries. I read this for the first time in an undergrad ethnic studies class, and return to it, again and again.
Bigg Khalil
Jun 05, 2007 Bigg Khalil rated it liked it
An excellent read on the development of race in the US. A bit basic at times, it gives a clear introduction to how race has been created and reified in the US.
Feb 01, 2010 Rene rated it liked it
Shelves: race
This book is fairly canonical to the field of race studies, but it doesn't actually do much beside try to repackage Gramsci.
Nicolas Shump
Jan 09, 2009 Nicolas Shump rated it really liked it
Great intro into the consideration of race and ethnicity for undergrad students and even grad students.
Sep 07, 2008 Dioscita rated it did not like it
Read it 'cause I had to, but SNOOOORRRREEEEE..... this thing was a "sleeper" (and not in a good way).
Aug 18, 2009 Eternalaugust rated it it was ok
critical read but very informative and a foundation for race studies
Jun 08, 2011 Chrisanne rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and well-argued social theory.
Aug 20, 2015 Kumar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, state, inequality
Absolutely essential.
Dominic Mitchell
Dominic Mitchell marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
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