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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  424 ratings  ·  23 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...more
Paperback, Second (Revised) Edition, 240 pages
Published March 22nd 1994 by Routledge
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Owen
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.
Andrea
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
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
Aaron
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
Drick
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
The Awdude
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
Gabriel Oak
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.
Tannya
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 book...it 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...more
Daniel
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
Neisha
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.
Tressie Mcphd
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
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.
YunJin
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.
Monica
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
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.
Yvonne
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
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.
Rene
Feb 01, 2010 Rene rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Great intro into the consideration of race and ethnicity for undergrad students and even grad students.
Dioscita
Read it 'cause I had to, but SNOOOORRRREEEEE..... this thing was a "sleeper" (and not in a good way).
Eternalaugust
critical read but very informative and a foundation for race studies
Chrisanne
Fascinating and well-argued social theory.
Shirley
Shirley marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2014
Septimus Forbes
Septimus Forbes marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2014
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