Recent Publications


Under Siege in Any Era: White Threat and Victim Memories of the Civil Rights Movement

Kristen M. Lavelle

Du Bois Review (OnlineFirst 2017)

Whites’ sense of their racial vulnerability has been established as a key facet of U.S. post-civil rights racial ideology. This paper analyzes Whites’ victim claims attached to a historical era, via recent in-depth interviews with elder White Southerners, and argues that, through invoking civil rights-era racial vulnerabilities—mistreatment from social changes and African Americans—White Southerners downplay institutional racism, delegitimize the Civil Rights Movement, and construct White innocence and Black pathology. In contrast, younger Whites’ victim claims assert Whites as racially innocent and equitably vulnerable to racism, but these narratives of the racial past achieve similar ends. By constructing the civil rights era as dangerous and unjust, elder White Southerners lay claim to a lifelong nonracist identity and deny systemic racism. This analysis suggests that White threat and victim narratives are not products of a post-civil rights milieu, but rather are generated by Whites’ use of racial framing to construct a sense of self, other, and society.

Book Chapter:

The White Racial Frame: A Roundtable Discussion

Glenn Bracey, Christopher Chambers, Kristen Lavelle, and Jennifer Mueller

in Systemic Racism: Making Liberty, Justice, and Democracy Real (2017)

This chapter engages a focused study of the white racial frame as a theoretical concept and analytical tool. As Joe R. Feagin’s students during the time he developed the concept, the authors draw on their knowledge of the frame at various stages of development and areas of expertise. Using a roundtable format, they explore three questions: (i) what is the white racial frame and what does it theorize; (ii) what does it explain; and (iii) what does it contribute to our understanding of race/racism that other extant theories do not or cannot? Building from these, they conclude the chapter with a real-time dialogue. The discussion deepens public understanding of the white racial frame and enhances utility for future scholarship.


Emotional Labor in Critical Ethnographic Work: In the Field and Behind the Desk

Krista McQueeney and Kristen M. Lavelle

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 46(1):81–107 (2017). DOI: 10.1177/0891241615602310

In this article, the concept of emotional labor is used to capture dilemmas of critical ethnographic research. We frame our experiences not simply as “confessional tales,” or personalized accounts of how researchers experience their fieldwork, but as part of critical methodology itself. We identify three strategies for transforming our emotional labor into an analytic tool: contextualizing emotions, using emotions to unmask power in the research process, and linking emotions to personal biographies. Following ethnographers who question the separation between data and analysis, we explore how emotions and power intersected in two key ethnographic “moments”: collecting data and writing the research narrative.