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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

7 - Theories of Race, Ethnicity, and the Racial State

from I - Theories of Political Sociology


A systemic racism approach to understanding racial states like the United States is well-validated in much historical and contemporary social science research. Here we emphasize a number of the key contributions of this contemporary approach to assessing the US racial state. We use “state” to mean a socially and territorially bounded community with a national government complex and many local government institutions. We include aspects of the state accented by the classical theorist Max Weber – national states’ territorial sovereignty and their monopolization of coercion – and also the state’s executive bureaucracy, legislatures, courts, legal norms, and overall political operations (2015 [1919]).

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