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9781509536160

Is Free Speech Racist?

Paperback / softback by Gavan Titley
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The question of free speech is never far from the headlines and frequently declared to be in crisis. Starting from the observation that such debates so often focus on what can and cannot be said in relation to race, Gavan Titley asks why racism has become so central to intense disputes about the status and remit of freedom of speech.

 Is Free Speech Racist?

 moves away from recurring debates about the limits of speech to instead examine how the principle of free speech is marshalled in today’s multicultural and intensively mediated societies. This involves tracing the ways in which free speech has been mobilized in far-right politics, in the recycling of ‘race realism’ and other discredited forms of knowledge, and in the politics of immigration and integration. Where there is intense political contestation and public confusion as to what constitutes racism and who gets to define it, ‘free speech’ has been adopted as a primary mechanism for amplifying and re-animating racist ideas and racializing claims. As such, contemporary free speech discourse reveals much about the ongoing life of race and racism in contemporary society.

Product Details

Format: Paperback / softback, 144 pages Language: English
Dimension: 122 x 15 x 188mm ISBN10: 1509536167
Weight: 204g ISBN13: 9781509536160
Publication Date: 24 Jul 2020 Publisher: Polity Press

Product Reviews

Review

"This is a small but mighty book."Angela Saini, BBC Science Focus 'Best Books of 2020'"Titley’s book offers a detailed, analytical counter-argument to those voices suggesting that the rights of the already entitled are somehow under threat or that speaking out against racism is an assault on public life.” […F]ree speech is always more, rather than less, complex in his analysis of the fluid processes by which it shapes racism."Times Higher Education"An excellent contribution to dispelling liberal myths that freedom of expression is impotent and unconditional, and to taking back freedom of expression. […] Titley's short and concise book [is] recommended for any anti-racist thinking and action." Antirasistisk"[This book] is clear, manageable and does not reproduce that fakely neutral tone that some academic discourses on race do. It does not shy away from complexity either. This book is both a worthwhile contribution to the history of writing on racism and a timely publication considering recent events. Highly recommended." Manchester Review of Books​ "[O]ne of the clearest accounts that has yet been published of […] how free speech is being misused by those who have turned it into an ideology. […] It's lively, compelling and principled, and anyone who cares about the topic should buy a copy." David Renton, lives; running"A particularly necessary reminder to those of us who relate to freedom of expression on a liberal basis […] that the worn-out term 'liberal democracy' is actually based on freedoms and rights that do not arise through reflex responses – that these are processes that require active debate to defend and develop. It is never more important than after attacks on our open societies."Göteborgs-Posten"Against accounts that frame freedom of speech in terms of idealized speech acts that serve both moral and utilitarian ends in avowedly enlightened, postracial liberal democracies, Titley asks critical questions about how invocations of free speech are being put to work, in service of whose interests, and to what ends. This framing pushes us past endless, circular debates about free speech as an abstract, idealized liberal democratic good and instead brings prevailing relations of oppression and exploitation sharply into focus."Alex Khasnabish, Journal for the Study of Radicalism"Titley writes with an analytical and interrogative eye toward one of democracy's most professed values and tenets—free speech. Clawing his way beneath the surface of popular political rhetoric, Titley implores his audience to reconsider how they understand free speech and its implications."Sociology of Race and Ethnicity"A significant contribution to our understanding [of how and why] the far- and racist right in many Western countries have with uneven but significant success managed to

About Author

Gavan Titley is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Maynooth University.

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