Personhood and accounting for racism in conversation

Abstract
Racism is traditionally studied from an individualistic perspective emphasising personality characteristics, motivations and basic cognitive processes. Some researchers have shifted their attention to the study of racist discourse. The present study tries to extend this work on discourse in two ways. First, by focusing on the everyday meaning of racism itself, rather than by defining racism and using this definition as the central analytical category. It is investigated how ethnic Dutch speakers when they talk and argue among themselves, reconcile racist talk with their identity as a reasonable and moral person. Second, conversational interactions were studied in order to examine the effectiveness of constructions. Few studies investigate the question of consequences of varying constructions. It is argued that in order to show that constructions play an important role in shaping subjects’ understandings and actions it is necessary to go beyond textual deconstructions and to investigate conversations
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