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The Importance of Class for Understanding Racist Discourses  : A Comparative Study of People with Different Positions in the Swedish Class Structure
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5066-3556
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In research, and especially quantitative research, the working class is often singled out as more xenophobic than other classes. However, it appears that the working class has actual relationships with "immigrants" to a larger extent. Rather than determining which class is the most xenophobic, the aim of this paper is to discuss the relevance of dominant theories about class and racism in relation to empirical findings, and more specifically to interrogate why and how class may be important for understanding people’s use of racist discourses in different social contexts. This paper is based on an ongoing research project that focuses on the relationship between people's class positions and their practices towards people that they construct as "the other", as "immigrant" or "ethnically different". The empirical findings consist of qualitative interviews with (1) people with working class positions (based on their work, employment relations and income) living in a working class area, and (2) people with higher class positions living in an more socioeconomically favorable area. Both areas are located in one of Sweden’s largest cities.

In the paper, I discuss both social psychological theories that focus on people's desire for a positive social identity and other theories, mainly Marxist, that are based on people's position in the relations of production. The paper argues that which discourses, that are available or are seen as reasonable, are conditioned by people’s different class positions. This also means that the reasons behind people’s use of racist discourses and the meanings these are filled with need to be understood in relation to the diverse – class conditioned – social contexts in which people live.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Class, racist discourses, swedish class structure, marxist theory, ethnographic case studies
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230690OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-230690DiVA: diva2:741388
I XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology “Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology”, 13-19 July Yokohama, Japan.
Available from: 2014-08-27 Created: 2014-08-27 Last updated: 2014-08-28

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