PUBLI : Margot Dazey, « Rethinking respectability politics », British Journal of Sociology, 00, 2021, p. 1–14.


Respec­ta­bi­lity politics—that is, the process by which privi­leged members of margi­na­lized groups comply with domi­nant social norms to advance their group’s condition—is the object of a growing body of lite­ra­ture in the fields of race and ethnic studies, social move­ments, and critical theory. Yet this body of lite­ra­ture remains theo­re­ti­cally unin­te­grated. This article offers a clari­fi­ca­tion of the concept by speci­fying who can resort to this type of poli­tics and by charac­te­ri­zing respec­ta­bi­lity poli­tics as an inhe­rently ambi­va­lent poli­tical stra­tegy, one that stands at the cross­roads of forms of resis­tance and accom­mo­da­tion of oppres­sive struc­tures. The article also demons­trates the concept’s poten­tial to move beyond its current appli­ca­tion in African American studies, as respec­ta­bi­lity poli­tics holds promise in provi­ding insights on the oppo­si­tional poli­tics of other margi­na­lized groups” members (such as Muslims in Europe or Latino/​as in the United States). Lastly, the article sketches four research direc­tions in the study of respec­ta­bi­lity poli­tics, with impor­tant impli­ca­tions for unders­tan­ding the workings of social confor­mance under domination.


Article avai­lable here.