Page 1

This section includes book reviews of 600-900 words, as well as some book notes of 100-200 words, on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If members either have a review that they consider of interest to the SG, or a recent book of their own, which they would like to see reviewed in the newsletter, please contact Cas Mudde at: c.mudde@ed.ac.uk. Book Notes Christoph Burgmer (ed.,) Rassismus in der Diskussion. Berlin: Elefanten Press 1999, 176 pp., DM 25.00, ISBN 3-88520-730-3 (pbk). Reviewed by Andreas Umland (Ural State University at Yekaterinburg) In this short collection of nine interviews, Christoph Burgmer has assembled a number of prominent European specialists and one US-American expert on racism in the contemporary Western world. All the main sub-fields and issues of contention in racism are presented in a succinct way. Burgmer examines the history of racism with Robert Miles (Glasgow), the construction of 'the other' with Edward W. Said (New York), the relationship between colonialism and racism with Albert Memmi (Paris), xenophobia in Germany with the writer G端nter Grass (Germany), anti-Semitism with Wolfgang Benz (Berlin), antigypsism with Wolfgang Wippermann (Berlin), the relationship of sexism and racism with Birgit Rommelspacher (Berlin), racism in the mass media and among elites with Teun A. van Djik (Amsterdam) and the relationship between cultural identity and racism with Stuart Hall (Birmingham). Almost all of the contributions are dense discussions of some of the most pressing issues in racism studies, such as the range of ascriptive ideas covered by the concept of racism, or the spread of racist stereotypes in the thinking of 'ordinary people' in contemporary Western Europe and North America. One of the less persuasive contributions is that of Albert Memmi, who extends the concept of racism to assertions about the morphological and sexual difference between men and women (p. 46), which is in open contradiction to, for instance, the contribution of Rommelspacher. He compares human society with animal groups, and says at one point: "Lions too drive out non-lions from their group." (p. 51) Racism, in Memmi's interpretation, becomes a fluid, over-stretched concept that loses much of its cognitive value. This notwithstanding, Burgmer's little booklet can be recommended as a rich collection of a wide variety of partly conflicting interpretations, evaluations, definitions, and explanations of racism. It can serve as a useful tool for those

2001 02 02 book reviews  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you