Can humanity escape segregating behavior or master the tendency to exclusion? Where does the force of prejudice come from? How might one conceive the philosophical foundations of an effective antiracism? Pursuing these questions, Pierre-André Taguieff puts forward a powerful thesis: that racism has evolved from an argument about races, naturalizing inequality between "biologically" defined groups on the basis of fear of the other, to an argument about cultures, naturalizing historical differences and justifying exclusion. Correspondingly, he shows how antiracism must adopt the strategy that fits the variety of racism it opposes.
Looking at racial and racist theories one by one and then at their antiracist counterparts, Taguieff traces an intellectual genealogy of differentialist and inegalitarian ways of thinking. Already viewed as an essential work of reference in France, The Force of Prejudice is an invaluable tool for identifying and understanding both racism and its antidote in our day.
Pierre-Andre Taguieff, philosopher and historian of political ideas, is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France. Hassan Melehy is assistant professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut.