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Social Construction and the Concept of

By Edouard Machery and Luc Faucher

Abstract

There has been little serious work to integrate the constructionist approach and the cognitive/evolutionary approach in the domain of race, although many researchers have paid lip service to this project. We believe that any satisfactory account of human beings ’ racialist cognition has to integrate both approaches. In this paper, we propose to move toward this integration. We present an evolutionary hypothesis that rests on a distinction between three kinds of groups—kin-based groups, small scale coalitions, and ethnies. Following Gil-White (1999, 2001a, 2001b), we propose that ethnies have raised specific evolutionary challenges that were solved by an evolved cognitive system. We suggest that the concept of race is a byproduct of this mechanism. We argue that recent theories of cultural transmission are our best hope for integrating social constructionists’ and cognitive/evolutionary theorists ’ insights. 1. Introduction.

Year: 2012
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