Diego A. von Vacano

in The Color of Citizenship

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746668
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932337 | DOI:

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Political theory must take race seriously, and one way to do this is to heed the synthetic paradigm of race. Going back to the ancient Greek concept of theoria allows us to understand the task of political theory as one involving the perception of visible human characteristics and phenomena, especially those observed in the context of foreignness and spectacle. This leads to an appreciation of aesthetic traits and processes that may have political valence, such as the idea of “race” and the processes of racialization. The dominant schools of thought in political philosophy, republicanism, liberalism, and Marxism, have been largely color-blind when it comes to race as a political factor. This lacuna can be corrected by examining the Latin American tradition of synthetic thinking about race. The synthetic paradigm allows a historically nuanced view that sees the constitution of race as inherently open to any phenomena. The paradigm is a substantive and methodological approach to the dynamic construction of race by political factors as well as to the making of political processes such as citizenship. Various countries, such as the United States and Bolivia, can benefit from this paradigm.

Keywords: Synthetic; paradigm; dialectical; modernity; race; ethnicity; liberalism; republicanism; Marxism; Genealogy

Chapter.  13207 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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