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Identity ComplexMaking the Case for Multiplicity$
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Michael Hames-García

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816649853

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816649853.001.0001

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How Real Is Race?

How Real Is Race?

(p.39) 2 How Real Is Race?
Identity Complex

Michael Hames-García

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores some of the contradictions between the social and biological conceptions of the reality of race. It traces the account of historical sociologist Aníbal Quijano, which concerns the origin and significance of race. For Quijano, “race” emerged in the early sixteenth-century alongside a complex and global reorganization of power that revolved around three interrelated and inseparable factors: coloniality, capitalism, and Eurocentrism. He proposes two characteristics of race. First, its origin presupposed the existence of biological differences from which followed a natural hierarchy among superior and inferior groups. Second, race enabled new social and economic relations; racial identities thus became “constitutive” of unequal roles, locations, beliefs, and practices. Philosopher Maria Lugones adds to Quijano’s notions of race and states that the process “encroached on” already existing practices of gender domination, mutating and transforming them into the theoretical model she calls the “colonial/modern gender system.”

Keywords:   race, Aníbal Quijano, Maria Lugones, coloniality, capitalism, Eurocentrism, natural hierarchy, racial identities, gender domination, colonial/modern gender system

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