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Étienne Balibar's term for the prevalent new modality of racism he calls ‘racism without race’, which emerged in the 1970s. Whereas racism used to be premised on the idea of race as biological heredity, now in the postcolonial era it tends to be focused on ‘cultural differences’. It surfaces in debates about immigration, assimilation, and multiculturalism and although its tone tends to be respectful its intent is always to preserve the pillars of racial segregation both ideologically and practically. Indeed, the very question of whether or not immigration might cause ‘cultural’ difficulties (whatever form these might take—e.g. the loss of cultural distinctness, or dilution of tradition) is neo-racist in form according to Balibar. Samuel P. Huntington's highly influential The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order (1998) is a highly sophisticated example of neo-racism inasmuch as it insists on the universality and immutability of ethnic characteristics.

Further Reading:

Ê. Balibar and I. Wallerstein Race, nation, classe: les identités ambiguës (1988), translated as Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities (1991).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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