Contemporary “Structures” of Racism

A Sartrean Contribution to Resisting Racial Injustice

in Sartre Studies International
Justin I. Fugo Temple University

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This paper develops an account of racism as rooted in social structural processes. Using Sartre, I attempt to give a general analysis of what I refer to as the “structures” of our social world, namely the practico-inert, serial collectives, and social groups. I then apply this analysis to expose and elucidate “racist structures,” specifically those that are oftentimes assumed to be ‘race neutral’. By highlighting structures of racial oppression and domination, I aim to justify: 1) the imperative of creating conditions free from oppression and domination, over the adherence to ‘ideal’ principles which perpetuate racial injustice; 2) the shared responsibility we have collectively to resist and transform social structural processes that continue to produce racial injustice.

Contributor Notes

Justin I. Fugo is an Assistant Professor (Instructional) in Temple University's Intellectual Heritage Program. His research draws on a plurality of sources to offer new methods for thinking about moral and political theory. Central to his recent research is an argument for the responsibility of combatting conditions of oppression and domination, with a particular focus on racial injustice. His teaching and research aspires to diversify and expand the traditional philosophical canon by transcending disciplinary boundaries and engaging marginalized theorists. Email: (ORCID:

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