Article Review on Mara Loveman | MyPaperHub



Loveman, Mara. "Is "Race" Essential". American Sociological Review 64.6 (1999): 891-898.

Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

In an article titled “Is race essential,” Mara Loveman asserted that in as much as he agreed on the Importance of improving the understanding of the causes, consequences, and mechanisms of the racial phenomena, he raised questions of the structural theory of racism suggested by Eduardo. According to him, it is not the best analytical framework as it experienced some shortcomings. They include confounding categories with groups, it reified race and also maintained the unwarranted analytical distinction between race and ethnicity.  The gaps made it difficult to understand the historical and contemporary meaning of race. Loveman suggests that to avoid the pitfalls, race should be abandoned as a category of analysis (891-893).

On the shortcoming of confounding categories with groups, Loveman argues that the framework by Eduardo treats as an automatic the move from the imposition of racial categories to the existence of concrete groups that symbolize the types. The context by Eduardo hinges on race as both a category and as a social group (892-893). Loveman claims that though it is the case in some historical contexts, it does not necessarily mean that membership in a particular category is an automatic membership to a given social grouping or social identities.

The article further points to the pitfall by Eduardo of reifying race, the analytical framework adopted by Eduardo heavily depends on the reification of race in that races are real social groups and collective actors. The limitation of the reified conceptualization of race by Eduardo becomes visible as they try to address the problem of race in Latin America. He claims that race becomes less significant in countries such as Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico but that the countries still have racial problems. In the case, race is treated as a thing with varying salience or importance but not in meaning (894).

Eduardo further experiences a pitfall on its unfounded insistence in distinguishing analytically between race and ethnicity. The only justification for analytically distinguishing between ethnicity and race is based on an empirical understanding of their differences. Loveman further asserts that without an explicit analytical definition, the realms of cases of radicalization is only presented as well as understood as a set of contexts in which languages of race are operative and also has some social consequences for given groups of people (897).


Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. "Rethinking Racism: Toward A Structural Interpretation." American

Sociological Review, Vol. 62.No.3 (1997): pp. 465-480. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

In the article Rethinking Racism: Toward a Structural Interpretation, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva primarily argues that racism, as is defined by the mainstream social scientists, does not offer enough theoretical foundation for the understanding of the racial phenomenon. He suggests that unless a structural framework is developed to address the issue on racism, analysts will remain knotted in ideological views of the issue (470). Without a form of structural interpretation, they are bound to continue to hold an irrational view just like the mainstream social scientists or reduce the class structure like the Marxist interpreters. Eduardo suggests that racism ought to be studied from the viewpoint of racialization. He further contends that racialization of society happens first then it develops a life of its own, becoming a social relation in itself. The race is a social construct and, therefore, interacts with gender and class structuration within the social system. After the race is stratified, race becomes an independent criterion for the vertical hierarchy in the society and therefore, the diverse races may experience positions of subordination and also superordination within the society and also may develop some differing interests (472-480).


Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. "“The Essential Social Fact Of Race.”". American Sociological Review

Vol. 64,.No. 6 (1999): 899-906. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

In response to the criticisms of his theory by Loveman, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva wrote an article titled “the essential social fact of race.” He argues that Loveman claimed in a typical Weberian fashion in her accusation of categorical confounding on Eduardo’s theory. Eduardo claims that in defense of her theory, races exist as a social phenomenon wherever there is a social structure in place. He further asserts that racial class consciousness as is the case with gender and race is always a fundamental matter in all social collectivities (899-901).

Eduardo further addresses Loveman’s accusation of reification of the race. He labels it as her misunderstanding of social constructionist. In his defense, Eduardo asserts that race just as is the case with other socially constituted categories is a mode of human creation and, therefore, demonstrates a high degree of the malleability as well as permeability that is not seen (901).

Eduardo recognizes Loveman’s group making versus the comparative study of racial structures. He argues that Loveman’s suggestion that boundaries are the foundation for sociological inquiry into the reproduction, construction or decline if symbolic boundaries are in agreement t with Eduardo’s structural theorization (904). However, Loveman’s strategy of using them is the major issue at hand because she does not ground them on the analysis of race and ethnicity in the socio-historical processes of the past and present that is essential to creating them as social categories. He argues that her analytical strategy is therefore not entirely faulty but is profoundly anti-sociological.


I am in agreement with Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s structuralism theory of racism. It is because he reviews the traditional approaches and also some other alternative approaches to the study of racisms and then openly discusses and documents their limitations. The theory is also very much well informed and advanced due to its reliant on suggested leads from other frameworks to advance a structural theory of racism that is well based and supported by the notion of racialized social systems. 



Works cited

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. "Rethinking Racism: Toward A Structural Interpretation". American

Sociological Review, Vol. 62.No.3 (1997): pp. 465-480. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. “The Essential Social Fact Of Race.”. American Sociological

ReviewVol. 64,.No. 6 (1999): 899-906. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

Loveman, Mara. "Is "Race" Essential". American Sociological Review 64.6 (1999): 891-898.

Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

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