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Michael Banton's paper provides fascinating insights into his long-running intellectual disagreements with John Rex, the other major post-war figure in the sociology of ‘race relations’. Published work and personal recollections are supplemented by a series of communications by letter to flesh out the precise nature of these debates. They reveal differing views on the ontological status of ‘race’, race relations and racism, as well as a number of criticisms of Rex's work. He argues that Rex was wrong to put so much faith in the ability of classical sociology to address these concerns, and that there was a disjuncture between theory, methods and substance in his empirical work. There is also a suggestion that Rex played down the significance of racism. The greatest difference between them, however, lay in their divergent views on the role of sociology and the sociologist.

Original publication




Journal article


Ethnic and Racial Studies

Publication Date





1395 - 1400