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Reontologising race: the machinic geography of phenotype

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2006
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Number of pages16
Original languageEnglish


In contradistinction to the treatment of race as a problem of epistomology—how is phenotype represented in racial discourse—the author seeks to defend a materialist ontology of race. The creative materiality of race is asserted following the ‘material turn’ in feminism, anthropology, complexity theory, and Deleuze. Race is shown to be an embodied and material event, a ‘machine assemblage’ with a different spatiality than the self/other scheme of Hegel. Taking issue with the calls for the transcendence of race amongst cultural studies scholars such as Paul Gilroy, the author ends the paper by suggesting that the political battle against racial subordination includes a serious engagement with its biological dimensions. Race should not be eliminated, but its energies harnessed through a cosmopolitan ethics which is sensitive to its heterogeneous and dynamic nature.