Newsletter of ISA (International sociological association) – Research Committee on sociology of migration, Spring 2012.
John Rex passed away in December 2011. Most of us know his very influential work on race, ethnicity and multiculturalism. With Michael Banton, he was a pioneer in ethnic and racial studies not only in the United Kingdom, but also worldwide. John was a real theoretician critically inspired amongst others by the work of Max Weber.
I first met John when I was a PhD student back in 1988. I visited CRER, the leading research center on ethnicity, race and migration in the UK at the time with scholars like Robin Cohen, John Solomos, John Wrench, Danièle Joly and many others. He was very supportive and we kept regularly in touch for more than 2 decades, meeting many times at conferences or simply for dinner when he was in Brussels.
Besides his wonderful intelligence and theoretical sophistication, John had a great sense of humour. But he was also a complex character, one of a kind. You were with him or against him and he would not accept “double allegiances”. My mistake was precisely to do that and work with a scholar he deeply disliked for mysterious reasons. In his view, I had then ceased to be a follower. Even though he never did anything to harm me or to offend me, our relationship had clearly changed.
When I heard he had passed away, I felt very sad and bad. I will always remember a unique personality and a great mind with all his positive and negative sides. May he rest in peace forever.