Centre for Social Science and Global Health

Beyond Fact or Fiction: On the Materiality of Race in Practice

This article by Amade M'charek suggests a turn to practice to examine what race is and how it is made relevant.

What is biological race and how is it made relevant by specific practices? How do we address the materiality of biological race without pigeonholing it? And how do we write about it without reifying race as a singular object? This article engages with biological race not by debunking or trivializing it, but by investigating how it is enacted in practice. Discarding two dominant and mutually exclusive notions, race as fact and race as fiction, I follow a praxiographic approach to present three ethnographic cases that show race is a relational object, one that it is simultaneously factual and fictional. I conclude that fiction needs to be taken more seriously as an inherent part of fact making.

Publication details

Amade M'charek (2015): Beyond fact or fiction: On the materiality of race in practice, Cultural Anthropology, 28:3, 420-442.

Published by  SSGH

8 February 2017