Immanent politics: thinking race and ethnicity through affect and machinism

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In this paper, I attempt to rethink race and ethnicity through Deleuzo-Guattarian conceptions of affect and machinism. Considered in the context of a theorisation of machinism, affect might be thought of as not only underwriting difference and contingency, but as simultaneously affording the potential for bodies to be organised into proper relations. I suggest an understanding of the virtual as impure, full of bundles of potential functions, an understanding that allows us to envisage race and ethnicity in terms of virtual memory and the incipient organisation of affect. I also argue that thinking of race and ethnicity in terms of affect requires a theorisation of machinism. Race and ethnicity thus have to be considered in terms of historically specific sociomaterial assemblages that are at once practised and productive. Building upon these insights, and taking inspiration from the writings of Elizabeth Grosz, I propose a vision of an antiracist politics that pursues justice by other means than a politics of recognition or resistance. Instead, I suggest that antiracist struggles need to harness the subliminal and superliminal forces that produce the conditions for affect, subjectivity, and action.This is a politics that seeks to free desire from its historically specific organisation, but which attends to its own reinvestment in racialising and ethnicising tendencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2393-2409
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

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