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Race, Ethnicity and Identity

SO3250 Race, Ethnicity and Identity (10 ECTS)

Lecturer(s): Dr Zoe O'Reilly and Dr David Ralph

Module Content/Outline:

The module provides an overview of issues surrounding race, ethnicity and identity, by providing a theoretical understanding of the issues and investigating recent developments in immigration, racism, and the politics of multiculturalism and integration, in Ireland, Europe and further afield.
Part I of the module – States, Migration and Ethnicity – aims to promote reflection on the interactions between states, identity, ethnicity and race. We will explore how immigration is affecting contemporary West European politics and society. We will examine the role of the state in managing ‘difference’, particularly the concepts of multiculturalism, citizenship and integration. Issues such as refuge and asylum, borders, the rise of far right parties and immigrant protests and riots will be examined in the context of Europe.
Part II of the module – Race, Ethnicity and Identity: A Theoretical Introduction – explores how ideas of race, ethnicity and identity are socially constructed, before investigating the origins of nationalism and processes of racialization. We will examine sociological theories of the racial state, learn how to analyse media representations of race and ethnicity and situate race and ethnicity within social, political and economic processes. Students will gain an overview of various approaches to 'race' including exploring how differences ‘beyond race’ such as hybridity and diaspora are negotiated. Finally, we will ask if it is possible to move 'beyond race' and look at the possibilities and the problems of anti-racism.

Learning Objectives:

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Critically theorise and contextualise race and ethnicity with reference to culture, state, gender, nation, and globalisation;
  • Critically analyse media representations of race and ethnicity;
  • Apply a race critical theory approach with particular reference to Ireland;
  • Discuss recent developments in relation to immigration, racism and citizenship;
  • Critically discuss theories of identity and nationalism;
  • Compare and contrast immigration, citizenship and integration regimes in Western Europe;
  • Explain and discuss the implications of migrant protests and riots in Western Europe;
  • Account for the development of extreme right parties and groups in Western Europe

Lectures &Tutorials/ Contact hours:

One lecture and one tutorial per week.

Workload: Lectures: 22 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 80 hrs; Self-study: 126 hrs. Total: 250 hours.

Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:

  • Back, L. and Solomos J. (eds.) (2008) Theories of Race and Racism, London: Routledge.

  • Howard, M.M. (2009) The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • Koopmans, R., Statham, P. Giugni, M. and Passy, F. 2005. Contested Citizenship: Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

  • Kundnani, A. (2007) The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain. Pluto Press.

  • Lentin, R. and McVeigh, R. (2006) After Optimism? Ireland, Racism and Globalisation. Metro Eireann Publications.

  • Messina, A.M. 2007. The Logic and Politics of Post-WWII Migration to Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


  • The first half of this module is assessed by coursework (50%)
    The second half of this module is assessed by exam (50%).

    Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade

    Examination: 1 x 3 hour examination