Force of Prejudice: On Racism and Its Doubles (Contradictions of Modernity)

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9780816623730: Force of Prejudice: On Racism and Its Doubles (Contradictions of Modernity)

Can humanity escape segregating behavior or master the tendency to exclusion? Where does the force of prejudice come from? How might one conceive the philosophical foundations of an effective antiracism? Pursuing these questions, Pierre-André Taguieff puts forward a powerful thesis: that racism has evolved from an argument about races, naturalizing inequality between "biologically" defined groups on the basis of fear of the other, to an argument about cultures, naturalizing historical differences and justifying exclusion. Correspondingly, he shows how antiracism must adopt the strategy that fits the variety of racism it opposes.

Looking at racial and racist theories one by one and then at their antiracist counterparts, Taguieff traces an intellectual genealogy of differentialist and inegalitarian ways of thinking. Already viewed as an essential work of reference in France, The Force of Prejudice is an invaluable tool for identifying and understanding both racism and its antidote in our day. 

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About the Author:

Ne a Paris en 1946, Pierre-Andre Taguieffest philosophe, politologue et historien des idees. A partir du milieu des annees 1960, il poursuit des etudes de philosophie et de linguistique a la Faculte de Nanterre (Paris X), et se passionne pour les musiques contemporaines sous l impulsion du musicologue Daniel Charles, tout en dirigeant une formation de jazz. De tendance libertaire, etudiant enthousiaste du philosophe-sociologue Henri Lefebvre, il frequente de 1966 a 1968 la mouvance situationniste. A Nanterre, il s'initie a la phenomenologie en suivant les cours de Jean-Francois Lyotard, Mikel Dufrenne, Emmanuel Levinas etPaul Ricoeur, puis s'interesse a la pensee de Nietzsche, a laquelle il consacre son memoire et son DEA de philosophie (1969-1970).Il assiste alors regulierement aux conferences sur Nietzsche de Gilles Deleuze, de Michel Foucault et d Henri Birault. Proche du philosophe et semioticien Louis Marin, il s engage en 1973 a l Ecole pratique des hautes etudes (VIe section), puis a l EHESS, sous la direction d Algirdas Julien Greimas, dans des recherches sur la philosophie du langage et la theorie de l argumentation. Il participe aussi aux travaux d analyse du discours politique dans le cadre du laboratoire CNRS de l ENS de Saint-Cloud, -Lexicologie et Textes politiques-, dirige par Maurice Tournier. Il etudie ensuite la psychologie sociale sous la direction de Gerard Lemaine, a l EHESS. Il enseigne parallelement la philosophie en lycee ou en Ecole normale d instituteurs ainsi que la psychologie a l universite Paris VII, jusqu a son entree au CNRS, en 1984. Travaillant sur le racisme et l'antisemitisme dans le sillage de Leon Poliakov, et commencant a etudier systematiquement les ideologies d'extreme droite, Pierre-Andre Taguieff construit dans les annees 1984-1985 un modele theorique des populismes, et plus particulierement des formes de national-populisme, qui a renouvele l approche du nationalisme contemporain. C est aussi a cette epoque qu il conceptualise la distinction entre le -vieux- racisme biologique et inegalitaire et le -nouveau- racisme differentialiste et culturel, distinction reprise dans la plupart des travaux ulterieurs sur le racisme. Il s efforce parallelement, dans ses travaux, d identifier clairement les nouvelles formes prises par la judeophobie apres la disqualification du vieil antisemitisme. Il intervient sur un mode critique plutot que militant, durant les annees 1980, dans le cadre de plusieurs mouvements antiracistes comme le Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitie entre les peuples (MRAP), la Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l'antisemitisme (LICRA) et la Ligue des droits de l'homme.A la fin des annees 1980, il contribue a creer l Observatoire de l antisemitisme, dont il devient le president. Il commence a enseigner a l Institut d etudes politiques de Paris au milieu des annees 1980, s orientant de plus en plus vers l histoire de la pensee politique, consacrant de nombreuses etudes au nationalisme, au populisme et a l eugenisme. Il y enseignera jusqu en 2005. Il a aussi enseigne au College international de philosophie, a l EHESS, a l Universite libre de Bruxelles (chaire Chaim Perelman) et a l Institut universitaire d Etudes juives Elie Wiesel. Au debut des annees 1990, Pierre-Andre Taguieff s engage dans des recherches sur les mythes politiques modernes et contemporains, qu il s agisse des croyances conspirationnistes ou des visions de l Histoire ordonnees a l idee de progres ou a celle de decadence. Mais il consacre aussi des travaux aux avatars de l idee republicaine et au devenir de la democratie, aux problemes poses par le multiculturalisme et le communautarisme, a la question du pluralisme et aux fondements de la bioethique. Il est l auteur de plus de vingt-cinq livres et collaborateur de nombreuses revues, francaises et etrangeres. Il est directeur de recherche au CNRS (Paris, CEVIPOF) depuis 1993. Apres avoir ete president de la Fondation du 2 mars (2000-2002), il s est rapproche du Cercle de l'Oratoire, club de reflexion politique lie a la revue"Le Meilleur des Mondes".Pierre-Andre Taguieff est notamment l'auteur de "La Nouvelle judeophobie" (Mille et une nuits, 2002), "La Couleur et le sang. Doctrines racistes a la francaise" (Mille et une nuits, 2002), "Les Protocoles des sages de Sion. Faux et usages d'un" "faux" (Fayard, 2004), "Precheurs de haine. Traversee de la judeophobie planetaire" (Fayard, 2004), "La Foire aux illumines" (Mille et une nuits, 2005), "L'Imaginaire du complot mondial. Aspects d'un mythe moderne" (Mille et une nuits, 2006), "La Bioethique ou le juste milieu. Une quete de sens a l'age du nihilisme technicien" (Fayard, 2007).

Melehy is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Vermont.

Melehy is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Vermont.

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