Alienated Consciousness and Dominant Group Racial-Ethnic Identity

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: Booth 63
Oral Presentation
Ashley DOANE , Social Sciences, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
The evolution of dominant group racial-ethnic identities is a key factor in understanding alienation and intolerance. Historically, the emergence of nationalism, racism and ethnocentrism was an important element of global capitalist development that was grounded in colonialism, enslavement, and other forms of domination. Ruling elites fostered what Charles Mills has called a “racial contract” in which dominant group working classes received limited social and economic privileges in return for their acquiescence to systems of racialized capitalism. This served as the basis for cross-class racial and national alliances to resist anticolonial and antiracist social movements in order to maintain group-based privileges. Over the past half-century, the increasing pace of globalization and the expansion of neoliberalism have placed dominant group working classes in an increasingly precarious social and economic position. This has included a rearticulation of the “racial contract” and the increasing alienation of dominant group working classes. In this paper, I analyze the nature of this new “racial contract,” the rise of reactionary social movements and the prospects for progressive social movements.