Critical race theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


External organisations

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA


Critical race theory (CRT) is an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to understand and combat race inequity in society. The approach views race as a socially constructed identity that plays a hugely important role, which goes largely unrecognized by members of the majority population. CRT defines racism more broadly than is usual in the mainstream. Rather than seeing racism as an individual manifestation of hatred, CRT explores the social structuring of racism as a complex, changing and often subtle aspect of society that operates to the benefit of White people, especially White elites. This entry discusses the origins of CRT, in U.S. legal studies in the 1970s and 1980s, and notes its growth to become an international movement that has influenced scholarship in numerous social science disciplines. This entry explores the key themes and concepts that characterize contemporary CRT including the centrality of racism, the critique of liberal assumptions (such as meritocracy and colour-blindness), the interest-convergence principle, the importance of experiential knowledge, intersectionality, and the development of “off-shoot” movements that retain the core elements of CRT while focusing on the intersections of particular social identities (such as race and sexuality).


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSAGE Research Methods Foundations
EditorsPaul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Melissa Hardy, Malcolm Williams
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Dec 2017