Black Lives Matter, American political development, and the politics of visibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Viewed through the lens of American Political Development (APD), the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement raises several questions about the movement's relationship to earlier movements for social and racial equality in the United States. This essay highlights a mode of politics common to BLM and its predecessors that involves rendering the state’s role in producing racial inequality visible and legible, in order to contest it. This mode of contestation is a product of a “post-racial” era in which the formal colorblindness of government institutions promotes a narrative in which inequalities in outcomes are linked to personal choices rather than political ones. However, a developmental perspective on the politics of visibility also reveals its precursors, for example in early anti-redlining movements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalPolitics, Groups, and Identities
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


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