On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life

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Duke University Press, Mar 28, 2012 - Social Science - 243 pages
What does diversity do? What are we doing when we use the language of diversity? Sara Ahmed offers an account of the diversity world based on interviews with diversity practitioners in higher education, as well as her own experience of doing diversity work. Diversity is an ordinary, even unremarkable, feature of institutional life. Yet diversity practitioners often experience institutions as resistant to their work, as captured through their use of the metaphor of the "brick wall." On Being Included offers an explanation of this apparent paradox. It explores the gap between symbolic commitments to diversity and the experience of those who embody diversity. Commitments to diversity are understood as "non-performatives" that do not bring about what they name. The book provides an account of institutional whiteness and shows how racism can be obscured by the institutionalization of diversity. Diversity is used as evidence that institutions do not have a problem with racism. On Being Included offers a critique of what happens when diversity is offered as a solution. It also shows how diversity workers generate knowledge of institutions in attempting to transform them.

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User Review  - kristykay22 - LibraryThing

This is an academic (but very readable) look at the act of doing and being diversity in an institutional context. The foundation of Ahmed's book is a series of interviews with diversity professionals ... Read full review


On Arrival
1 Institutional Life
2 The Language of Diversity
3 Equality and Performance Culture
4 Commitment as a Nonperformative
5 Speaking about Racism
A Phenomenological Practice

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About the author (2012)

Sara Ahmed is Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Her books include The Cultural Politics of Emotion; Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality; and Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism.

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