Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities. •. ETIENNE BALI BAR. AND. IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN. Translation of Etienne Balibar by Chris Turner. VERSO. Race, Nation, Class - Wallerstein/Balibar interconnections between Nationalism, Racism, ethnicity, capitalism and, MB. Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities. ETIENNE BALIBAR. AND. IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN. Translation ofEtienne Balibar by Chris Turner ts^ z?.

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But, as with many other academic fields, this also creates its own tensions. A second has to do with the establishment of normative, commonsense definitions of key concepts, which may well vary across disciplinary boundaries, along with an increasing proliferation and blurring of such concepts over time.

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Balibar and Wallerstein - Race, Nation, Class - Ambiguous Identities

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References Anderson, B. Google Scholar Anthias, F. Google Scholar Balibar, E. Balibar and I. Google Scholar Banton, M.

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Google Scholar Blommaert, J. Google Scholar Breuilly, J. Google Scholar Bulmer, M. Google Scholar Brown, D. Google Scholar Brubaker, R. Tonkin, M. McDonald and M.

Chapman eds History and Ethnicity London: Routledge , pp. Google Scholar Clark, D. Google Scholar Cohen, P. Google Scholar Colley, L. Google Scholar Connor, W.

Google Scholar Conversi, D. Google Scholar Cornell, S. Google Scholar Crick, B. Evans ed. Google Scholar Eriksen, T.

Google Scholar Feldman, A. Google Scholar Fenton, S. Coulmas ed. The Handbook of Sociolinguistics London: Blackwell , pp. Google Scholar Gellner, E. Google Scholar Gilroy, P.

Google Scholar Goulbourne, H. Google Scholar Guibernau, M. By the same token, I was also not aware that I was myself going to find his analysis of Dutch hegemony in the seventeenth century of assistance in situating the intervention of Spinoza with his revolu tionary characteristics, in relation not only to the 'medieval' past but also to contemporary tendencies within the strangely atypical set of struggles between the political and religious parties of the time with their combination of nationalism and cosmopolitanism, democratism and 'fear of the masses'.

Conversely, what Wallerstein did not know was that, from the beginning of the s, following the discussions to which our 'structur alist' reading of Capital gave rise, and precisely in order to escape the classical aporias of the 'periodization' of the class struggle, I had recog nized the need to situate the analysis of class struggles and their recip rocal effects on the development of capitalism within the context of social formations and not simply of the mode of production considered as an ideal mean or as an invariant system which is a wholly mecha nistic conception of structure.

Race, Nation, Class - Wallerstein/Balibar

It therefore followed, on the one hand, that a determining role in the configuration of relations of production had to be attributed to all the historical aspects of the class struggle including those which Marx subsumed under the equivocal concept of superstructure ' And, on the other hand, the implication was that the question of Ute reproduction space of the capital-labour or wage labour relation had to be posed right at the very heart of the theory, giving full weight to Marx's constant insistence that capitalism implies the extension of accumulation and of the proletarianization of labour power to the whole world, though, in so doing, one had to go beyond the abstraction of the undifferentiated 'world market'.

Alongside this, the emergence of the specific struggles of immigrant workers in France in the seventies and the difficulty of expressing these politically, together with Althusser's thesis that every social formation is based on the combination of several modes of production, had convinced me that the division of the working class is not a secondary or residual phenomenon, but a structural though this does not mean invariant characteristic of present-day capitalist societies, which deter mines all the perspectives for revolutionary transformation and even for PREFACE 3 the daily organization of the movement for social change.

I Last, from the Maoist critique of 'real socialism' and the history of the ' cultural revolution' as I perceived it , I had retained not, of course, the demonization of revisionism and the nostalgia for Stalinism, but the insight that the ' socialist mode of production' in reality constitutes an unstable combination of state capitalism and proletarian tendencies towards communism.

Precisely by their disparate nature, these various rectifications all tended to substitute a problematic of ' historical capital ism' for the formal antithesis between structure and history; and to identify as a central question of that problematic the variation in the relations of production as these were articulated together in the long transition from non-commodity societies to societies of ' generalized economy'. Unlike others, I was not exaggeratedly sensitive to the economism for which Wallerstein's analyses have frequently been criticized.

It is, in fact, important to clarify what we mean by this term. In the tradition of Marxist orthodoxy, economism figures as a determinism of the develop ment of the productive forces: i n its way, the Wallersteinian model of the world-economy in fact substituted for that determinism a dialectic of capitalist accumulation and its contradictions.

In asking under what historical conditions the cycle or phases of expansion and recession could become established, Wallerstein was not far removed from what seems to me to be Marx's authentic thesis, and an expression of his critique of economism: the primacy of the social relations of production over the productive forces, so that the contradictions of capitalism are not contradictions between relations of production and productive forces between, for example, the ' private' character of one and the 'social' character of the other, as the formulation endorsed by Engels has it , but - among other things - 'contradictions of progress'.

Moreover, what is called the critique of economism is most often undertaken in the name of a claim that the political sphere and the state are autonomous, either in relation to the sphere of the market economy or in relation to the class struggle itself, which comes down practically to reintroducing the l iberal dualism state!

To tell the truth, it was at this point that queries and objections arose in my mind. I shall mention three of these briefly, leaving it to the reader to decide whether or not they are the product of a 'traditional' concep tion of historical materialism.

First, I remained convinced that the hegemony of the dominant classes was based, in the last analysis, on their capacity to organize the labour process and, beyond that, the reproduction of labour-power itself in a broad sense which includes both the workers' subsistence and their cultural formation.

To put it another way, what is at issue here is the real subsumption which Marx, in Capital, made the index of the establish ment of the capitalist mode of production properly so-called - that is, the point of no return for the process of unlimited accumulation and the valorization of value.

If one thinks about it carefully, the idea of this 'real' subsumption which Marx opposes to merely 'formal' subsump tion goes a long way beyond the integration of the workers into the world of the contract, of money incomes, of law and official politics: it implies a transformation of human individuality, which extends from the education of the labour force to the constitution of a 'dominant ideology' capable of being adopted by the dominated themselves.

No doubt Wallerstein would not disagree with such an idea, since he stresses the way in which all social classes, all status-groups which form within the framework of the capitalist world-economy are subject to the effects of 'commodification' and the 'system of states'. One may, however, ask whether, to describe the conflicts and developments which result fom these, it is sufficient, as he does, to draw up the table of the historical actors, their interests and their strategies of alliance or confrontation.

The very identity of the actors depends upon the process of formation and maintenance of hegemony. Thus the modern bourgeoisie formed itself into a class which managed the proletariat, after having been a class which managed the peasantry: it had to acquire political skills and a 'self-consciousness' which anticipated the way that resistance to it would be expressed and which transformed itself with the nature of that resistance.

The universalsm of the dominant ideology is therefore rooted at a much deeper level than the world expansion of capital and even than the need to procure common rules of action for all those who manage that expansion.

The egalitarianism whether democratic or other wise of modern politics is a good illustration of this process. This means both that all class domination has to be formulated in the language of PREFACE 5 universality, and that there are in history a great number of univer salities, which are mutually incompatible. Each of them - and this is also the case with dominant ideologies in the present period - is shot through with the specific tension of a particular form of exploitation, and it is not by any means certain that a single hegemony can simultaneously encompass all the relations of domination that exist within the frame work of the capitalist world-economy.

In plain language, I am saying that I doubt whether a 'world bourgeoisie' exists;,Or, to put it more prec ely, I entirely acknowledge that the extens io n of the process of accumulation to the world scale implies the constitution of a 'world-wide class of capitalists', among whom incessant competition is the law and, paradox for paradox, I see the need to include i n that capitalist class both those at the helm of 'free enterprise' and those who manage 'socialist' state protectionism , but I do not, for all that, believe that class to be a world bourgeoisie in the sense of a class organized in institutions, which is the only kind of class that is historically concrete.

To this question, I imagine Wallerstein would immediately retort that there is indeed an institution which the world bourgeoisie shares and which tends to confer concrete existence upon it, above and beyond its internal conflicts even when these take the violent form of military conflicts and particularly above and beyond the quite different con ditions of its hegemony over the dominated populations!

That institution is the system of states itself, the vitality of which has become particularly evident since, in the wake of revolutions and counter-revolutions, colonizations and decolonizations, the form of the nation-state has been formally extended to the whole of humanity. I have myself argued for many years that every bourgeoisie is a 'state bourgeoisi e' , even where capitalism is not organized as a planned state capitalism, and I believe that we would agree on this point.

One of the most pertinent questions which Wallerstein seems to me to have raised is that of why the world economy was unable to transform itself in spite of various attempts to do so, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth into a politically unified world-empire, why, in the world-economy, the political insti tution has taken the form of an ' interstate system'.

No a priori answer can be given to this question: we have precisely to reconstruct the history of the world-economy, and particularly that of the conficts of i nterest, the ' monopoly' phenomena and the unequal developments of power which have repeatedly manifested themselves at its 'core' - which is in fact today less and less localized in a single geographical area - as well as the history of the uneven resistances of its 'periphery'.

But precisely this answer if it is correct leads me to reformulate my objection. At the end of The Moder World-System vol. He drew a radical conclusion from this: most of the historical units to which we generally apply the label 'social systems' from 'tribes' to nation-states are not in reality social systems but merely dependent units; the only systems properly so-called which history has known have been, on the one hand, subsistence communities and, on the other, the 'worlds' the world-empires and the WOrld-economies.

Reformulated in Marxist terminology, this thesis would lead us to think that the only social formation in the true sense in the world today is the world-economy itself, because it is the largest unit within which histori cal processes become interdependent. In other words, the world economy would not only be an economic unit and a system of states, but also a social unit. In consequence the dialectic of its development would itself be a global dialectic or at least one characterized by the primacy of global constraints over local relations of force.

It is beyond doubt that this account has the merit of synthetically explaining the phenomena of the globalization of politics and ideology which we have seen occurring over several decades and which appear to us to be the outcome of a cumulative process extending over many centuries.

It is particularly strikingly exemplified in periods of crisis. It provides - as we shall see in the essays which follow a powerful instru ment for interpreting the ubiquitous nationalism and racism of the modern world, while avoiding confusing them with other phenomena of 'xenophobia' or 'intolerance' seen in the past: the one nationalism as a reaction to domination by states of the core, the other racism as an institutionalization of the hierarchies involved in the world-wide division of labour.

And yet I wonder whether, in this form, Wallerstein's thesis does not impose on the muultiplicity of social conflicts a formal or at least unilateral - uniformity and globalism. It seems to me that what characterizes these conflicts is not only transnationalization, but the decisive role that is increasingly played in them by localized social relations or local forms of social contlict whether these be economic, religious or politico-cultural , the 'sum' of which is not immediately totalizable.

In other words, taking in my turn as my criterion not the extreme outer limit within which the regulation of a system takes place, but the specificity of social movements and the conflicts which arise within it or, if one prefers, the specific form in which the global contradictions are reflected in it , I wonder whether the social units of the contemporary world do not have to be distinguished from its economic unity.

After all, why should the two coincide? By the same token, I would suggest that the overall movement of the world-economy is the random result of the movement of its social units rather than its cause. But I do acknowledge that it is difficult to identify the social units PREFACE in question in any simple way, since they do not coincide purely and simply with national units and may in part overlap why would a social unit be closed and, a fortiori, autarkic?

The power of Wallerstein's model, generalizing and concretizing as i t does Marx's initial insights into the 'law of population' implied in the endless accumulation of capital, is that it shows this accumulation has unceasingly imposed both by force and by law a redistribution of populations into the socio occupational categories of its 'division of labour' either by coming to terms with their resistance or by breaking it, indeed by using their strategies of subsistence and by playing off their interests against one another.

The basis of capitalist social formations is a division of labour i n the broad sense, including the various 'functions' needed for the production of capital , or, rather, the basis of social transformations is the transformation of the division of labour. But i s it not cutting a few corners to base the whole of what Althusser not so long ago termed the society effect on the division of labour?

In other words, can we take the view as Marx did i n certain 'philosophical' texts that societies or social formations are kept 'alive' and form relatively durable units simply by virtue of the fact that they organize production and exchange in terms of certain historical relations? Do not misunderstand me here: the point is not that we should rerun the conflict between materialism and idealism and suggest that the economic unity of societies has to be supplemented or replaced by a symbolic unity, whose definition we would seek either in the sphere of law or religion or the prohibition of incest and so on.

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The point is rather to ask whether Marxists were not by chance victims of a gigantic illusion regarding the meaning of their own analyses, which are, in large part, inherited from liberal economic ideology and its implicit anthropology. The capitalist division of labour has nothing to do with a comple mentarity of tasks, individuals and social groups: it leads rather, as Wallerstein himself forcefully reiterates, to the polarization of social formations into antagonistic classes whose interests are decreasingly 'common' ones.

How is the unity even the conflictual unity of a society to be based on such a division? Perhaps we should then invert our inter pretation of the Marxist thesis. Instead of representing the capitalist division of labour to ourselves as what founds or institutes human societies as relatively stable 'collectivities', should we not conceive this as what destroys them?

Or rather as what would destroy them by lending their internal inequalities the form of irreconcilable antagonisms, if other social practices, which are equally material, but irreducible to the behaviour of homo conomicus - for example the practice of linguistic communication and sexuality, or technique and knowledge did not set 8 RACE, NATION, CLASS limits to the imperialism of the relation of production and transform it from within?

If this is so, the history of social formations would be not so much a history of non-commodity communities making the transition to market society or a society of generalized exchange including the exchange of human labour-power - the liberal or sociological representation which has been preserved in Marxism as a history of the reactions of the complex of 'non-economic' social relations, which are the binding agent of a historical collectivity of individuals, to the de-structuring with which the expansion of the value form threatens them.

It is these reactions which confer upon social history an aspect that is irreducible to the simple 'logic' of the extended reproduction of capital or even to a 'strategic game' among actors defined by the division of labour and the system of states.

It is these reactions also which underlie the intrinsically ambiguous ideological and institutional productions, which are the true substance of politics for example, the ideology of human rights, and also racism, nationalism, sexism and their revolutionary antitheses.

Finally, it is these too which account for the ambivalent effects of class struggles to the extent that, seeking to efect the 'negation of the negation' - that is, to destroy the mechanism which i tending to destroy the conditions of social existence - they also aim, in utopian fashion, to restore a lost unity and thus offer themselves for 'recuperation' by various forces of domination.

Rather than engaging in a discussion at this level of abstraction, it seemed to us from the outset that it was better to redeploy the theor etical tools at our disposal in the analysis, to be undertaken together, of a crucial question raised by the present situation - a question of sufficient dificulty to enable the encounter between our two positions to progress.

This project materialized in a seminar which we organized over three years at the Maison des Sciences de I'Homme in Paris. The seminar was devoted successively to the themes 'Racism and Ethnicity', 'Nation and Nationalism' and 'Classes'. The texts which follow are not literal transcripts of our contributions, but rework the original substance of these seminars, supplementing them on several points.

Some of these texts have been presented or published in other places see pp. We have rearranged them in such a way as to bring out the points of conflict and convergence. We do not claim absolute coherence or exhaustiveness for this collection, which is designed rather to open up questions, to explore some paths of investigation. It is much too early to draw any conclusions. We do, however, hope that readers will find here something to fuel their thinking and criticism.

In Part I, 'Universal Racism', we attempt to sketch out an alternative problematic to the ideology of ' progress' which was imposed by liberal ism and has largely been taken over we shall see further on in what conditions by the Marxist philosophy of history. We observe that, in traditional or new forms the derivation of which is, however, recogniz able , racism is not receding, but progressing in the contemporary world.

There is uneven development and there are critical phases i n this phenomenon, the manifestations of which we should be careful not to confuse, but i t can only be explained in the last analysis by structural causes. To the extent that what is in play here - whether in academic theories, institutional or popular racism - is the categorization of humanity into artificially isolated types, there must be a violently conflictual split at the level of social relations themselves.

We are not therefore dealing with a mere ' prejudice'.

Moreover, it has to be the case that, above and beyond historical transformations as decisive as de colonization, this split is reproduced within the world-wide framework created by capitalism. Thus we are dealing neither with a relic nor an archaism. Does it not, however, run against the logic of generalized economy and individualist rights?Baltsiotis eds. In late , when the book was first On the one hand, Margaritis refers to the, then-ongoing, demise of the published in France, the Althusserian review Theseishad translated Balibar's Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the rise of various nationalisms in those text "Researches on Nationalism and Racism'l which outlined the thirteen territories, while on the other, he points to the EU Maastricht Treaty.

On the key concepts of the stranger and the enemy, Balibar. Stefanopoulou might be found in two collective volumes: K.

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Ventura, L. And yet I wonder whether, in this form, Wallerstein's thesis does not impose on the muultiplicity of social conflicts a formal or at least unilateral - uniformity and globalism. And how far, in turn, does racism today compel us to rethink the relationship between class struggles and nationalism?

Both authors challenge the commonly held notion of racism as a continuation of, or throwback to, the xenophobias of past societies and communities. Google Scholar Colley, L.

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