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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2019

David G. Embrick, Simón Weffer and Silvia Dómínguez

This paper examines the Art Institute of Chicago – a nationally recognized museum – as a white sanctuary, i.e., a white institutional space within a racialized social…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the Art Institute of Chicago – a nationally recognized museum – as a white sanctuary, i.e., a white institutional space within a racialized social system that serves to reassure whites of their dominant position in society. The purpose of this paper is to highlight how museums create and maintain white spaces within the greater context of being an institution for the general public.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analysis of this study is based on collaborative ethnographic data collected over a three-year period of time conducted by the first two authors, and consists of hundreds of photos and hundreds of hours of participant observations and field notes. The data are analyzed using descriptive methods and content analyses.

Findings

The findings highlight three specific racial mechanisms that speak to how white spaces are created, recreated and maintained within nationally and internationally elite museums: spatiality, the policing of space, and the management of access.

Research limitations/implications

Sociological research on how white spaces are maintained in racialized organizations is limited. This paper extends to museums’ institutional role in maintaining white supremacy, as white sanctuaries.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the existing literature on race, place and space by highlighting three specific racial mechanisms in museum institutions that help to maintain white supremacy, white normality(ies), and serve to facilitate a reassurance to whites’ anxieties, fears and fragilities about their group position in society – that which helps to preserve their psychological wages of whiteness in safe white spaces.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 39 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Black Mixed-Race Men
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-531-9

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Decolonising Sambo: Transculturation, Fungibility and Black and People of Colour Futurity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-347-1

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Book part
Publication date: 4 February 2013

Amy A. Hunter and Matthew D. Davis

This chapter expresses the need for an increase or reforestation of Black scholarship and examines the complexity of race in a White privileged institution of higher…

Abstract

This chapter expresses the need for an increase or reforestation of Black scholarship and examines the complexity of race in a White privileged institution of higher education. It is written with an understanding of Critical Race Theory's counter-narrative benefits and models the power of voice in the classroom of a Black student and a White teacher and their roles in creating a “safe space for race talk” in the classroom.

Details

Social Justice Issues and Racism in the College Classroom: Perspectives from Different Voices
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-499-2

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Decolonising Sambo: Transculturation, Fungibility and Black and People of Colour Futurity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-347-1

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Book part
Publication date: 26 October 2020

Anton Lewis

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“Counting Black and White Beans”: Critical Race Theory in Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-405-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2011

Angelique M. Davis and Rose Ernst

Direct democracy by citizen initiatives is often heralded as the avenue for the true will of the people to be heard. While scholars have debated whether this leads to a…

Abstract

Direct democracy by citizen initiatives is often heralded as the avenue for the true will of the people to be heard. While scholars have debated whether this leads to a form of Madison's “tyranny of the majority,” the debate over the concrete impact of such initiatives on racially marginalized groups remains unsettled. We examine a different question about racially marginalized groups' interests in this process: the symbolic assertion of white supremacy expressed through this mechanism of majority will. We develop the concept of “racial spectacles” to describe the narrative vehicles that serve to symbolically reassert and reinforce real existing racial hierarchies and inequalities. We explore the creation of these spectacles through the initiative process because it is a state-sanctioned vehicle that enables white dominance. Paradoxically, these campaigns that purport to be colorblind depend on the enactment of these racial spectacles. Through an analysis of five statewide anti-affirmative action initiative campaigns from 1996 to 2008, we explore both macro and micro political dynamics: public displays of these campaigns as well as individual, private agency expressed in the public and private act of voting; court decisions in initiative litigation as well as individual and interest group participation in these cases. Ultimately, we argue that this form of racial spectacle further inculcates the public in the postracial ideology of colorblindness.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-080-3

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Decolonising Sambo: Transculturation, Fungibility and Black and People of Colour Futurity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-347-1

To view the access options for this content please click here

Abstract

Details

Decolonising Sambo: Transculturation, Fungibility and Black and People of Colour Futurity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-347-1

Abstract

Details

Black Mixed-Race Men
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-531-9

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