Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 15 Issue 6 (November/December 2005), Pages 425-512

Studying talk and embodied practices: toward a psychology of materiality of ‘race relations’ (pages 446-460)


This article argues that an adequate social psychology of racism needs to take seriously people's lived experiences of ‘race relations’. This involves an empirical focus on social life in ordinary contexts in which everyday practices are structured around ‘race’. In particular, we argue that such a social psychology of racism needs to understand the articulation of two related domains of practices—embodied spatio‐temporal practices and linguistic practices (talk)—that together constitute the reality of ‘race relations’ in specific, concrete contexts. By discussing a case study of practices that constitute ‘desegregation’ on a post‐apartheid beach, we show that this focus (1) allows a fuller appreciation of the nature and construction of ‘race relations’, (2) helps us to understand why ‘race relations’ are so resistant to change and (3) provides a historical and materialist account of the nature of ‘race groups’. We argue that (what we term) the ‘impoverished realism’ of traditional attitude research and the ‘selective anti‐realism’ of discursive social psychology both limit an appreciation of lived experience as a focus of study. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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