‘Race’, Racism, Anti-Racism and Identities

  • Marjorie Mayo


As the previous chapter argued, the notion of identity is complex and socially constructed. The individual’s sense of self has varied from culture to culture — just as the concept of self has varied over time. More specifically, it has been suggested, contemporary preoccupations with questions of individual identities are themselves rooted in the context of their political economy. Western industrialised cultures have revolutionised our very sense of ourselves; as Rose has argued. ‘(W)e have become intensely subjective beings’ (Rose, 1989, p. 3). This preoccupation with the subjective can be related to the neo-liberal focus upon the individual, and the neoliberal concept of the individual as freely exercising their right to make choices in the market-place, both as producers and as consumers, urged:

to shape our lives by the use of our purchasing power. We are obliged to make our lives meaningful by selecting our personal lifestyle from those offered to us in advertising, soap operas, and films, to make sense of our existence by exercising our freedom to choose in a market in which one simultaneously purchases products and services, and assembles, manages and markets oneself. The image of the citizen as a choosing self entails a new image of the productive subject (Rose, 1989, pp. 102–3).


Social Movement Racial Identity Identity Politics Previous Chapter Black Identity 
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Copyright information

© Marjorie Mayo 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Mayo
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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