Notes on:  Hall, S. (1980) Race, articulation and societiess structured in dominance . In Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism edited by UNESCO: 305 – 45

Dave Harris

[Typical Hall bits eg] Need to be crude and simple, two main tendencies, mirror images of each other, might have to restructure the theoretical field. In simplified terms we might identify the economic and the sociological approaches.

Economic includes a great range and variety of studies which we are bundling  together 'for convenience' (306). Some focus on internal economic structures like the economic and racial structures of South Africa, others look at relations between internal and external economic factors as in arguments about development, colonisation. Different ways of thinking of the economic are involved. We can group them as framed by neoclassical development economics, those which are based on a modernisation or industrialisation model as in Roskow, those which take a dependency approach or those who have employed a Marxist orientation. They all take economic relations and structures as overwhelmingly determining, and racial or ethnic divisions can be explained principally with reference to these economic structures.

The sociological includes a variety of approaches but they focus on social relations between racial or ethnic strata, or cultural differences, ethnicity 'of which race is only one, extreme case', some are more rigorously plural, some look at political domination on racial grounds. Race is a social category rather than biological although not completely. All contributors agree on the 'autonomy… of race and ethnicity' as social features with 'their own forms of structuration… their own specific effects': they are not surface appearances of economic relations.

The first one gives a materialist basis, and the second one is a sort of reply to this emphasis introducing complexity, and correcting monocausality. These reflect the larger debates in social science and the breaks between various paradigms. They have real effects for political strategies. For example development theories commit nations to national economic development even though this undermined their position and those in the region, while dependency theories have led to anti-imperialist national capitalist developments. The whole field 'provides an excellent case study of the necessary interconnections between theory politics and ideology in social science' (308).

Each one has a rational core. Race does have an economic context, not a trans-historical character unless we are willing to suggest some general theory of prejudice. Clearly conquest, colonisation and domination have had effects. The issue is whether economic factors are adequate as explanations of racial features. Economic reductionism is surely inadequate, but how do extra economic factors appear — how can they be theorised?

We can take South Africa as an interesting limit case. It has undeniable racial structures linked with political and economic domination and a dominant capitalist mode of production. It is tempting to see class relations as characteristic as the labour force is structured and fractured by race as a major mechanism (Wolpe 1976). Rex himself is South African and Rex 1973 criticises both functionalist and Marxist perspectives, as well as pluralism [which apparently argued that different ethnic segments were held together because one segment monopolised political power]. Rex says that people of different ethnic backgrounds are involved in the same social institutions — as in the slave plantation and this provides the whole dynamic of the society [very close to Bonilla Silva here]]. There is an important historical context in that capitalism was imposed through conquest and incorporation of black people which began as unfree labour, which makes it much more like what Marx said about colonial societies. South Africa has remained distinctive as being based on migrant labour rather than classical free labour. As a result there are more specific economic mechanisms incorporating the African working class — rural reserves, labour compounds, special native locations. These are additional to economic relations per se and are preserved by political and legal factors as a kind of '"workable compromise"' (311) between the capitalist class and the white working class both of whom gain advantages by confining native labour.

Rex adds to Marx an 'adequate historically specific abstraction', something which Marx himself recommended. Instead of pluralism, there is class relations and class struggle, which provides the overall shape of political conflict, but this does not take the universal form of capitalist class relations. It is a specific kind of class struggle bearing the traces of earlier periods, '"conquest and unfreedom '"this also provides different relationships to the means of production, '"a whole range of class situations'". Rex begins with the economic level then adds differentiations to separate it from the classical type. He adds other distinctions of culture and values, found in the system of Bantu education or forms of political power which have constructed an African middle-class, Cape Coloureds or Indian traders.

Rex proposes a similar way of analysing Latin America and the Caribbean (Rex 1978) following the same strategy, starting with the basic forms of economic exploitation in colonialism, including unfree or partly free labour, the plantation system and dependent peasants, and adding in various social strata like the sectors middlemen, missionaries, and administrators. Some of these groups will be opposed to each other as classes, some will form relatively close groups culturally and the overall effect will be 'too much overlap and interpenetration to justify us in calling it a caste system, but too much closure of avenues of mobility for us to call it a system of social stratification' (312).

Hall sees this as 'essentially Weberian terrain' [conflict theory?]. Classical Marxism is modified first, although of course much depends on how this is defined and there are differences. The problems identified with this classical Marxism are then recuperated within '"classical weberianism"' (313), the work on economic relations including economic class conflict, a distinctive and often forgotten stress which enables Rex to see Marxist analysis as only one limited case, within a range of ideal types, a range of possible market situations which do not overlap into a general form. This also lies behind the notion of housing classes, where groups dominant in each market situation do not cohere into single classes. There is still exploitation, but this needs to be specified. This is a kind of 'distinctive "left weberianism"' (314) and weberian appropriations have also been noted by some commentators for Marxist theorists [strangely, Turner is not mentioned, although McLennan is!]

Both Marx and Weber seem to agree that free labour is the only form compatible with the logic of rational capitalism, but this is contested by Rex. In the first place, historical deviations can be found in social formations which are specifically colonial, which feature apparently irrational forms of descriptive relations combined with effective capitalist modes of production. Eurocentric theories are blamed here for not noticing this [Rex appears to be defending the use of terms like caste and estate? — Hall describes this as 'a "Marx plus Fanon " sort of argument' (315). The argument seems to be that as well as the means of production, certain closed groups managed to monopolise other social functions and positions according to their own interests and using their own power positions]

Wolpe is critical and says that the distinction between free and forced labour is not adequate, since Marx argued that free labour is only free in a very limited sense, and the distinction is not theoretically powerful enough to distinguish black labour as a separate category. It is the exploitation of labour that matters, how surplus labour is appropriated, and how the production system works, not just the labour market. This leaves Rex with too loose a definition of class which makes it easy to associate with racial groupings, but racial groups are not homogenous in their class composition, nor indeed are the white working class [in South Africa?]. Wolpe talks of class fractions or class strata which can act not in correspondence to their interests even though the overall class position sets the horizon — the example is the labour aristocracy. The general argument is that we start with the relations of production rather than political and ideological criteria, and treat these as a form of relative autonomy arising from the mode of production.

Rex has made theoretical gains away from simple Marxism, but Wolpe is a significant modification of Marxism [surely Althusser, although we can't mention him -- yet?] Rex has certainly shown that it is naïve to call for black and white labour to sink their differences and join a general class struggle because there are structurally different relations between them. It is also argued that the South African system shows no inevitable tendencies to turn into the rational forms of free labour which Marx saw as essential to capitalism, hence the need for a new definition of the capitalist mode, which questions the whole evolutionary form which Marx's work can take. However current Marxist theorising has also pursued a critique to rectify some of these and internally debated. They are rich, complex, rudimentary

Frank has opposed dependency theorists based around the United Nations Economic (ECLA) Commission for Latin America. This took a fundamentally Marxist view about capitalist development seeing it as imperialist but were not Marxist in any other way, and suggested dependent capitalist development as a result of capitalist expansion resulting in a kind of dualism. Frank agrees that the world capitalist system is the way to start but denies any genuine indigenous programme of development because Latin America had been thoroughly incorporated by the European powers, inserted early on into world capitalism so that no structural differences remained. Latin America was in fact a satellite, an imperialist chain, linking metropolis to regional centres.

Laclau 1977 denied that Latin America had been capitalist because this assumed a single identical process. The problem lay with the definition of capitalism as a production for the market driven by profit which ignored the mode of production. This is not the same as capital accumulation, which can take place with different modes of production. Merchant capital in particular is older than capitalism. There have been historically specific forms in Latin America and it is wrong to declare them all capitalist. Plantation slavery in the New World might also be an exception. Slavery might have had a distinct set of exploitative relations, so Genovese argued — '"neither feudal… nor capitalist"' (319) "seigneurial"' . Hindess and Hirst also saw plantation slavery as a distinctive mode, and others saw it as capitalist agriculture. There is debate about whether Marx saw plantations as substantively or only formally capitalist, on the grounds that slaves were not free and waged, but those who dealt with them were capitalist. However mercantile capital seem to be funding the whole thing in a specialised agricultural region, '"a kind of internal colony within the expanded world market"' (Beechy)

So maybe Marx was saying that there were two modes of production, a formal one and a true capitalist one, combined through an articulating principle, resulting in an articulated structure, 'itself "structured in dominance' (320 [no references for this -- is Hall claiming to have invented it -- he owns up later ?] So slave plantations have their own form of mode of production which is not itself capitalist, but which exists within an overall capitalist system. This will modify Marx and move away from Frank's insistence that Latin America has always been capitalist. We now have an interesting 'emergent theoretical problem of an articulation', a social formation which may be composed of several modes of production '"structured in dominance [and here Hall only asks us to compare with Althusser and Balibar, Hindess and Hirst, and Poulantzas (321)]. This has led to lots of work on precapitalist modes of production [by whom?]. There are implications for all the other aspects of social formations including class political and ideological structures and these have not been spelled-out by Laclau. A particular implication is the way in which ethnic groups are drawn into economic relations and articulated into the unity, possibly in quite different ways. This is 'perhaps the most generative new theoretical development'.

It follows from a newly sophisticated reading of Capital. Laclau refers specifically to Latin America and its role in expanding the capitalist system, referring back to a passage in Marx himself (Marx 1956) which refers to modes of production lying outside the particular stage of development of capitalism. Bettelheim says that although the dominant tendency is towards a capitalist mode, there can be secondary tendencies where non-capitalist modes are restructured, only partly dissolved and partly conserved by being subordinated to capitalism. Wolpe refers back to South Africa and corrects Rex here by suggesting that the capitalist sector relies on the noncapitalist sector for cheap labour supply and a form of subsistence reproduction which enables labour power to be acquired below the cost of its reproduction. He talks about both articulation and conservation variants, where capital accumulation's tendency to dissolve other modes is blocked by attempts to conserve noncapitalist economies which are maintained as subordinate, through political domination and ideology in a colonial form: these preserve African traditional societies. Thus economic relations and the mode of production are not abandoned but made more complex.

Even so, such complexity 'may not supply sufficient conditions in itself for an explanation of the emergence and operation of racism' (322), but it is a better point of departure than abandoning the economic level altogether, and it does retain materialist premises and historical premises, 'that the specific form of these relations cannot be deduced a priority… But must be made historically specific'. As in Capital. This is how Marx avoids economic reductionism and historical relativism.

The articulation thesis has done good work on precapitalist modes as in Hindess and Hirst, in colonial modes by Banerjee and Alavi and in recent material on the transitions from feudalism to capitalism [all cited on 323], and French work on agricultural social formations and how they have encountered external capitalist markets — the point again is to revive a dual sector analysis which gives the dual sector an ideological function concealing exploitation of rural communities which appear to be simply another component of capitalist production. There is some work applying this to Africa, considering the development of the slave trade first, where relations of exchange developed on the '"internal contradictions of the lineage social formations"'; a transitional phase '"colonialism in the full sense where capitalism gradually subordinates the precapitalist mode; a new type of social formation '"with the capitalist mode of production internally dominant… dependent on the Metropolitan capitalism (neocolonialism)' (324) [citing Rey]. Different class alliances correspond to each stage. The relations of exchange do the articulating, while social formations tend to be implanted.

So articulation is a complex matter variously deployed. It is significant. It is principally associated with Althusser and structuralist Marxism [hooray] it is found in the For Marx essays and in Reading Capital although it is not defined in the glossary. It might be a metaphor indicating linkages between different level. The unity formed is not an identity, however, not even a contradiction, but rather a complex structure where things are related 'as much through their differences as through their similarities (325).

So we are not talking about an expressive unity with a dialectic between the terms, which makes marks an advance on Hegel, nor is it a matter where the social formation is an expression of the economic base, the critique against economic reductionism. It is a complex unity, a matter of articulation. In any historical conjuncture such as Russia in 1917, a condensation of contradictions, each with its own specificity produce the rupture. We are talking about overdetermination

For Althusser and Balibar, a social formation is composed of a number of instances each with a degree of relative autonomy articulated into a contradictory unity. The economic instance itself is such a combination. Social formations may be such a combination of different modes. Knowledge and the production of knowledge are not an empiricist reflection of the real in thought but again have a specificity and autonomy of their own although they are articulated to the real world. Scientific analysis depends on grasping the principle of its articulation, how the different instances fit together and the different times and histories, both in any one moment and between different moments. There is no necessary sequence of stages. Any scientific understanding will show the variation of the articulation of the instances including the relations between the levels and forms of appearances. The determination  in the last instance by the economic is a problem of articulation. The mode of combination and the placing of each instance in relation to the others is what is determined, 'the matrix role of the mode of production'[citing Balibar] (326).

A&B's notion of structural causality has been criticised in turn by H&H as turning into an '"expressive totality" after all, 'a Spinozian eternity' (327). For example looking at feudal ground rent and the feudal relation of lordship, B talks of two different instances, one economic and one political which are articulated together, and similarly the mode of production is itself a combination of elements, the object of labour and the means of labour. However the elements do not change but are invariant. It is the way they are combined that changes, the way they are articulated [so what exactly is wrong?]. It follows that articulation is widely applicable to structuralist Marxism.

There are other 'provenances'. Structural linguistics provided the 'master model', via Saussure, arguing that meaning is produced through the articulation of linguistic systems based on real relations, not the result of correlation between signifier and signified, but rather an articulation [quoting Barthes, but not very clear]. Althusser has also referred to Marx's introduction to the Grundrisse, the 1857 introduction for a notion of the social formation as an articulated hierarchy [Gliederung], translated by Althusser as '"an organic hierarchicized whole"'. Marx argued that a determinate production and its relation ordered every other production and their relations in terms of rank and influence, that there was no simple identity between production and circulation exchange and consumption, but a complex determination, articulated in a capitalist mode with different circuits. The 1857 introduction attacks the idea of capitalism as a regular syllogism or an immediate identity, a single subject, an identity between production and distribution exchanging consumption, "'a totality of distinctions within a unity"' (328). There is no evolution, but a complex historical development, a definite 'structural premise' which has been particularly developed by Althusser to develop articulation.

This is still an approach rather than a resolution and has been itself critiqued. It means both joining up and giving expression to. The first sense is the main one for Althusser, because the second one implies some sort of epiphenomenal relation or reductionist formation, and expressive totality. This still remains, although some perfect and necessary correspondence is denied by insisting on relative autonomy. Instead Althusser uses terms such as '"displacement" "dislocation", "condensation", [Freudian terms?], And above all 'over determination"'. However, articulation can imply some external or arbitrary connection, '"mere juxtaposition"', and this is where over determination and the notion of articulation, as hierarchical as well as lateral, tries to solve the problem by identifying dominant or subordinate relations. However, this invites the criticism of excessive formalism — seen best in the notion that the economic determines in the last instance, as a matter of principle, 'in a formal way' (329), even though Althusser has retreated from some of these formalist interpretations. Nevertheless, it is obviously in danger of developing an idea of structure as something self functioning, an expressive totality after all, and operating with the notion of change limited to the variations within different articulations which weakens the notion of historical change and can lead to formalism — 'a sort of formalist hunt for one, separate "mode of production" after another' (329). Nevertheless Hall likes it for avoiding both vulgar materialism and sociological pluralism.

The social formation itself can be seen as '"an articulated hierarchy"', where a social formation is articulated around more than one mode of production, with characteristic political and ideological features arising from a combination, which might still be an articulated hierarchy. There is no necessary correspondence, but we have to think out the relations between different levels as an ensemble nevertheless. Marx referred to this when discussing uneven development. We have to ground discussion at the level of economic structures but we can't deduce all the relations of political and ideological structures especially 'where such features as racism make a decisive reappearance', so 'the economic level is the necessary but not sufficient condition for explaining the operations at other levels of society' which avoids reductionism. There is no necessary correspondence between them, but an historical specificity [heavy weather to get to here!]. Relations possess validity at a particular conjuncture, but it remains to demonstrate exactly what the correspondence is and here we can introduce some more sociological explanations.

However there is a debate about whether specific features can be identified tightly from the economic level — no problem with the general level which requires some extra economic frameworks. The issue is whether these levels are fully autonomous not relatively autonomous. What combinations might be preferred, 'invented and solidified by real historical development', without any necessary correspondence — Hall thinks this might apply to some cases in Latin America. Engels acknowledged that capitalism can develop very different legal systems, for example, even though it has often been accompanied by bourgeois parliamentary democratic regimes,, perhaps as the best possible political shell [citing Lenin].

 However there can be counteracting tendencies, combinations with various kinds of unfree or forced labour, for example in postcolonial societies [rehearsing the South Africa argument]. Let's take free labour — most capitalist formations seem to require it, as something more than a formal condition of existence, but there can be counteracting tendencies, combinations with forms of unfree labour, as in some postcolonial societies [we've already covered this with the case of South Africa and the bantustans] this needs additional concepts, 'to supply further determinations' (331) and the economic level itself cannot determine these levels. We need to supplement the Althusserians.

Enter Gramsci [!]. The work is fragmentary, far less theorised, formative for Althusser, although he remained as an historicist, but their relationship is 'a complex one'. Hall says he provides a 'limit case" of historicity'. We cannot elaborate in any depth of course. The central concept is hegemony, '"total social authority"' achieved at certain specific conjunctions by a specific class alliance following a combination of coercion and consent, not only at the economic level but with political and ideological leadership, 'in civil, intellectual and moral life as well… Over the terrain of civil society' (332). This is not given, but a moment of 'unusual social authority', still subject to the class struggle, unstable equilibria, a state of play needing to be continually worked on, a contradictory conjuncture. [so you can have it both ways of course, predict both settlement and crisis] It obliterates domination through coercion, and the corresponding class struggle is not a frontal assault on the state, but a more tactical one, a war of position working on different contradictions. The ruling class alliance tries to 'undertake the edge off the different formative tasks of raising the whole social formation' to expand the regime of capital instead of imposing its narrow interests, acting in the name of a universal level — this is the '"educative, formative role of the state… Creating new and higher types of civilisation"'. There is a notion of an historical bloc, a 'unity of opposites and distincts' uniting super structural levels.

There is no correspondence between economic structure and superstructures but historically specific mechanisms and historical moments where relationships can be forged. We have to analyse these specificities and resolve them. This is non-reductionist and we have to develop 'a philosophy of praxis' (333). We have to deny economism especially in politics and struggle by developing the concept of hegemony. This is only just begun. We have to use him to analyse the social formations of developed capitalism in Western Europe. So far he has hardly been applied to non-European formations, although he might be particularly useful there in combating economies, and an overemphasis of economic aspects of imperialism; introducing a suitable complexity in the relations between structure and superstructure, although we cannot just transfer concepts but work with historical specificity; use the notion of hegemony and the struggle for it, movements in and out of it and how this is been affected by uneven development, as it was in Italy.

Gramsci's work has been taken up in Althusser's essay on ISAs [!], 'In a structuralist manner' (334). It is different because it focuses on reproduction, but its concerns 'are not all that distant from those of Gramsci'. Economic relations must be reproduced, above all in ideology, which is like Gramsci saying that the noneconomic levels have to be developed through moral, intellectual and ideological leadership. Althusser 'shares with Gramsci'an interest in how the hegemony of the ruling class alliance is secured through educative class leadership or authority. 'Both of them argue' that expanded hegemony is specific to the so-called superstructures. 'Both… Insist' 'that ideology is contradictory but has a specific function in securing the reproduction of capital and is therefore a distinctive level of struggle although its mechanisms and sites are relatively autonomous — it is not just false consciousness'. All societies require specific ideologies to make sense of the world and relate people in an imaginary way to the real conditions of their existence. Althusser sometimes sees ideology as 'too functionally secured to the rule of the dominant classes', while 'for Gramsci ideology is thought of in a more contradictory way'. He is also interested in how ideologies can be worked upon to transform them into conscious struggle. 'Both insist' that ideologies are material relations which shape social actions, appearing concrete institutions and are materialised through practices. Althusser points out that ideologies operate by constituting concrete individuals — 'the process of what, following Laclau [!!] , he calls "interpellating subjects"' (335).

Laclau has taken this forward. Particular elements of ideologies such as nationalism or racism do not belong to class and have no connotation. Classes have no single worldview which are carried around, unlike Poulantzas, although they do have a unity of their own, through condensation — one interpellation can evoke another, operate as a symbol of the others, producing '"a relatively unified ideological discourse… Connotative condensation"' . This unity then is secured through a specific interpellation. So what is the relation between classes and ideologies? The class struggle articulates various ideological discourses which appear as raw materials. Dominant ideology articulates different ideologies to its hegemonic project by eliminating their antagonistic character. They do not impose a unitary world vision, but also distinction and the relative weight of elements of the old ideology, making important what was only secondary before, making it the nucleus of a new ensemble [citing Mouffe here] [the basis of Hall and Jacques on Thatcherism]. Problems include the notion of class practices which transform ideologies without having any ideological elements themselves, but again it is a triumph for articulation.

So there is a new theoretical paradigms emerging, based on a problematic Marx, but overcoming certain strategies. it is an emergent field, the solutions are not adequately developed yet and we have not really begun to apply them to 'racially structured social formations' (336).' There is no adequate theory of racism which is capable of dealing with both the economic and the super structural features'[of racially structured social formations], one which is concrete historically and sociologically specific on the distinctive racial aspects. However, we can specify some initial protocols.

We should start with historical specificity rather than seeing racism as a general feature of human societies. There are 'historically specific racisms', not a universal structure. There might common features, but we have to be careful about abstractions which are theoretical only, since elements that are not general uncommon might be the most important. Only historical specificity can help us understand racism as fully valid for social relations, and even help us to distinguish what might appear to be 'variants of the same thing' like racism of the slave South from racism of industrial capitalism in the post bellum North, 'or the racism of Caribbean slave societies from that of the Metropolitan societies like Britain' (337).

Although there may well have been racism in precapitalist formations, racism is thoroughly reorganised and re-articulated in capitalism. And in other societies, for example slavery in the ancient world did not 'necessarily entail the use of specifically racial categories, whilst plantation slavery almost everywhere did. Thus, there can be no assumed, necessary coincidence between racism and slavery as such'. We should instead examine the specific coincidence and how it is articulated, instead of assuming that it was attitudes of racial superiority which introduced plantation slavery — slavery instead might have been based on earlier forms of nonblack indigenous labour and white indentured labour producing 'juridical racism' requiring subsequent 'specific and elaborate ideological work'.

The same might be said about those who see racism as a universal function of individual psychology, a matter of general prejudice. The issue is not that people make perceptual distinctions between groups, but rather 'the specific conditions which make this form of distinction socially pertinent, historically active… A concrete material force' (338). Britain's imperial hegemony [used in a very deterministic way here]  laid the trace of active racism, but this cannot explain the form and function which racism assumed at the end of the 19th century, or different forms of indigenous racism in the working class in post-war migration — there is no '"general history"' [citing his own work].

We need concrete historical work, seeing how racism is articulated in specific historical conditions as a set of definite economic political and ideological practices positioning different social groups in relation to one another and legitimating these positions to secure the hegemony of the dominant group to help them dominate the whole social formation favourable to the long-term development of the economic base. It is not just a matter of economic coercion, although there may be an economic nucleus. We still need to see how these mechanisms operate, and how they require 'further determinations': racism is not present in all capitalist formations, 'not necessary to the concrete functioning of all capitalism's'

Racism has been articulated with other structures. The position of the slave 'was not secured exclusively through race' but through the productive relations of slave based agriculture and property relations, together with legal political and ideological systems — which went over into '"informal racism" after emancipation. Even there, there was new ideological work required as in Jim Crow, including tensions introduced by official ideologies of equal opportunity. At the same time race differentiated between different fractions of the working classes, intersecting class relations and dividing the class struggle as much as expressing it.

Even at the economic level race must be given a relatively autonomous effectivity. We need to know how racial and ethnic groups were 'inserted historically and how their distinctions have been eroded or preserved not as residues but as 'active structuring principles of the present organisation of society. Racial categories alone will not provide explain these.' How are these forms combined under capital how have they been articulated in different modes of production and how has race functioned in these articulations? How does race help reproduce labour power below its value, or cheap labour, or a reserve army of labour? How does it relate to semi domestic production as in Caribbean societies, or produce distinctive patterning's as in black migration in post-war Britain. How do black people relate to other sectors in the reserve army.

It is clear that there should be no either/or categories. The structures through which black labour is produced are not just functions of race 'they work through race'. Classes are articulated different levels of the social formation, and there are different sorts of relative autonomy between them. The class structured mode of production appears differently in each level and acquires different sorts of effectivity. 'Race is intrinsic to the manner in which black labouring classes are complexly constituted at each of these levels' (340) it affects the way in which black people are distributed as economic agents and how they appear in class struggles, how they are constituted in political representations and how they engage in political struggles and the consciousness and culture that results. 'Race is… the modality in which class is "lived", the medium through which class relations are experienced' (341) with consequences for the whole class, how it is divided or fractured and articulated, and how the white fractions of the class are ideologically represented and how their experiences are interpellated, how contradictions are recognised or misrecognised [general pessimism about racism in the white working class here as well]. Capital reproduces this class and its internal contradictions and structures it by race: racism is one of its effects, racism helps it defeat alternative means of representation to represent the class as a whole. Sectional struggles are 'the site of capitals continuing hegemony'. We still need specific forms in which racism appears, different ways in which racist ideologies have been constructed and made operative, how it differs from other hegemonic ideologies, what makes it particularly powerful, what makes it appear as natural and universal, grounded in biology, how it can transform the whole ideological field and connect other discourses to itself through mechanisms like connotative condensation. How racism can dehistoricise, construct new historical subjects, construct imaginary representations and otherness. These interpellations can themselves become elements for ideological struggle and oppositional formations, as where white racism is contested by black power. Racism remains contradictory and a continuing source of struggle.

Sociological theory still needs to clarify its procedure, avoiding reductionism and pluralism.