Governing Hate and Race in the United States and South Africa

By Patrick Lynn Rivers

Subjects: Comparative Politics, Sociology Of Law, Post Structuralism, African Studies
Paperback : 9780791475621, 190 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475614, 190 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents


1. States of Racial Mind

2. Is Racism Burning?

3. Tortious Race, Race Torts

4. After 9/11

5. Complicating Identity, Naturalizing Equality

6. Can Racism Burn?



Argues that the responsibility for eradicating racial hatred has been redirected away from the state and toward the hated, leaving the causes of hate unaddressed.


In this book, Patrick Lynn Rivers asserts that states govern racist hate by governing racial constructs. Rivers maintains that state practices used to govern hate and race in both the United States and South Africa do not make citizens safer, even as the United States markets itself as a "melting pot" of cultures and South Africa touts its status as the new multicultural "city on a hill. " In effect, the regulatory practices of the neoliberal state aid in the redirection of responsibility for the eradication of racist hate away from the nation and toward the hated, leaving unaddressed the systemic causes of hate. In line with emerging scholarship on hate, but also taking advantage of the perspective that comparative analysis makes possible, Rivers advocates a particular brand of progressive activism for a socially engaged state and citizenry where race is central and racism is not anomalous.

Patrick Lynn Rivers is Associate Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


"The author's close readings of the signs and symbols embedded in official and unofficial texts, discourses, and legal events illuminate the complexities of regulating hate in a postliberal, postmodern world. He makes excellent insights in his analyses of many of the major figures and ideas in contemporary cultural theory. " — Mark Kessler, Bates College