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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article aims to review the seminal work of W. E. B. Du Bois—who has been proclaimed, ‘the first sociologist of race’ (Lewis 2000: 550)—and to explore its relevance for organization studies. This review is done within the complex contours of today's global racial context. W. E. B. Du Bois wrote of race as the problem of the twentieth century and while Du Bois wrote primarily about race in the United States, he astutely recognized the problem was global in scope. Globalization today has evoked two visions of how race and ethnicity manifest in the workplace. There is the positive vision of a multicultural global village in which people of different cultures intermingle across boundaries, use technology to bridge physical distance, exchange goods, and leverage capital and resources. In a contrasting vision, cultural harmony and integration remain elusive. Globalization produces a situation in which identities continue to be sources of conflict, marginalization, and political struggle.

Keywords: sociology of race, W. E. B. Du Bois, organization studies, globalization, workplace, cultural harmony

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