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Race Performativity and Melancholic Whiteness in Contemporary Sweden
Mångkulturellt Centrum.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.
2015 (English)In: Social Identities, ISSN 1350-4630, E-ISSN 1363-0296Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article deals with the subject of race performativity, and has Sweden as its case study and national context. In 2011, an academic scandal erupted at Lund University when a group of white students in blackface, chained and half-naked, performed a slave auction at a dinner party. In the debate that followed, many of the white Swedish voices that were raised defended the scandal as an expression of an apolitical and liberated humour, while on the other hand several non-white Swedes pointed out that such an event can only take place in a country which is deeply segregated and which refuses to see itself as racist. With this event as the point of departure and with other contemporary cases of race performativity as empirical examples such as a blackface performance with the artist Makode Linde, this article tries to understand and analyse the needs and desires behind this phenomenon. Race performativity is here limited to when whites temporarily perform as non-whites by the way of, for example, make-up, clothes, body language and facial expression on stage, on television, in photography, in film and at various cultural and social events. Why do whites want to dress up and perform as non-whites? And what are the needs and desires behind this social and cultural phenomenon?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2015.
Keyword [en]
race performativity, whiteness, Sweden, melancholia
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-245769DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2014.1003703OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-245769DiVA: diva2:791492
Available from: 2015-02-28 Created: 2015-02-28 Last updated: 2015-06-08

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Social Identities
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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