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  Informed by recent work in media and cultural studies (e.g. Dyer, 1997), geographers and other social scientists have begun to attend to cultural constructions of \'whiteness\' as well as to the racialization of more \'visible\' ethnic minorities. Often regarded as an unmarked category, the apparent invisibility of whiteness is a direct product of its privileged position within a hierarchy of radicalized power. Recent interest in whiteness is part of a more general reflexive moment in the social sciences in which other dominant categories such as masculinity and heterosexuality are being critically re-examined. Rather than simply adding whiteness to existing studies of black and ethnic minorities, however, recent work (Jackson, 1998) has sought to repudiate the binary logic of all such radicalized ways of thinking. As Bonnett (1997) has argued, geographers need to examine the multiple ways in which \'white\' identities are constituted in different places and at different times, and in relation to other socially constituted differences of gender, class and nation. Such intersections have been explored in historical research on the colonial encounter (McClintock, 1995), highlighting the mutual constitution of race, gender and sexuality. While it is important to examine different versions and sub-categories of whiteness (Irish, Jewish, English, etc.), the particularity of whiteness as a category of radicalized power should not be neglected. Cultural constructions of whiteness also have political significance in contexts where the assertion of a \'white\' identity is usually associated with extreme right-wing groups. Geographers have therefore begun to consider the extent to which white identities can be articulated within a more progressive and explicitly anti-racist politics (Bonnett, 1996). (PAJ)

References Bonnett, A. 1996: Anti-racism and the critique of white identities. New Community 22: 97-11 0. Bonnett, A. 1997: Geography, race and Whiteness : invisible traditions and current challenges. Area 29: 193-99. Dyer, R. 1997: White: essays on race and culture. London: Routledge. Jackson, P. 1998: Constructions of whiteness in the geographical imagination. Area 30: 99-106. McClintock, A. 1995: Imperial leather: race, gender and sexuality in the colonial encounter. London: Routledge.



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