Tocqueville as critical race theorist: Whiteness as property, interest convergence, and the limits of Jacksonian democracy

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article demonstrates that there are affinities between Tocqueville's commentary on race and race relations in Democracy in America and the core assumptions of the critical race theory movement. Tocqueville shares with critical race theorists the view that white privilege was endemic in American culture and shapes both jurisprudence and outcomes in democratic politics. Moreover, Tocqueville presages the criticalists' arguments about the negative externalities of white privilege and interest convergence. The presence of these ideas in Tocqueville's text undermines the consensus view in the political science literature that he failed to take racial inequality seriously in his analysis of America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-652
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Keywords

  • Critical race theory
  • Tocqueville
  • White privilege
  • Whiteness as property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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