Discursive constructions of racial boundaries and self-segregation on campus

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51 Scopus citations


This discourse analysis examines North American college students' discursive constructions of racial boundaries, difference, and voluntary segregation on campus. Participants watched the documentary, Racism 101, at home with others and immediately afterwards tape-recorded their discussion about the video and related race matters. None of the participants disagreed with the existence of separateness on campus; they did, however, offer different accounts and positions. Some criticized such self-segregation while others justified it as understandable due to commonalities or differences. Still other individuals were ambivalent or avowed conflicting accounts, which seemed to reflect a dilemma, such as wanting more meaningful interracial contact but being unable to know how to achieve it. African Americans cited preserving group identity as a justification for boundaries. The findings fit with racial formation theory in that participants are partaking in different discourses so as to articulate, explore, or criticize different positions on interracial matters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-268
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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