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SOCIOLOGY AND THE THEORY OF DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Phenomenology of Racialized Subjectivity

  • José Itzigsohn (a1) and Karida Brown (a2)
Abstract

In this paper we emphasize W. E. B. Du Bois’s relevance as a sociological theorist, an aspect of his work that has not received the attention it deserves. We focus specifically on the significance of Du Bois’s theory of Double Consciousness. This theory argues that in a racialized society there is no true communication or recognition between the racializing and the racialized. Furthermore, Du Bois’s theory of Double Consciousness puts racialization at the center of the analysis of self-formation, linking the macro structure of the racialized world with the lived experiences of racialized subjects. We develop our argument in two stages: The first section locates the theory of Double Consciousness within the field of classical sociological theories of the self. We show how the theory addresses gaps in the theorizing of self-formation of James, Mead, and Cooley. The second section presents an analysis of how Du Bois deploys this theory in his phenomenological analysis of the African American experience. The conclusions point out how the theory of Double Consciousness is relevant to contemporary debates in sociological theory.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor José Itzigsohn, Department of Sociology, Maxcy Hall, Brown University, Box 1916, 108 George Street, Providence, RI 02912. E-Mail: Jose_Itzigsohn@Brown.edu.
References
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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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