The Social Construction of Race Argumentative Essay by Righter

The Social Construction of Race
Argues that race is indeed a social construct, focusing on Ian Hacking's four premises.
# 58360 | 2,450 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on May 09, 2005 in Sociology (Theory) , Sociology (General)

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This paper describes the history of race as a distinctly Western idea. Through this process, the writer shows how and when the concept of "race" was invented or socially constructed. It then emphasizes the point that race has no biological reality by focusing on genetics and human variation, among other factors that repudiate the notion that race is biologically real. Finally, it looks at how the concept of race is, indeed, as Hacking states, "quite bad as it is," and puts forth a new archetype, one that does away with the concept of race altogether and focuses on the uniqueness of individual human beings.

From the Paper:

"What does it mean to say that race is "socially constructed"? In fact, what do we mean when we say that anything is socially constructed? Ian Hacking, after researching many books on social construction, stated that in order for something - he called it "X" - to be socially constructed, it must adhere to the following two premises: (0) In the present state of affairs, X is taken for granted; X appears to be inevitable. (1) X need not have existed, or need not be at all as it is. X, or X as it is at present, is not determined by the nature of things; it is not inevitable. Hacking goes on to state that these next two claims are also usually, though not always, implied by the use of the phrase "social construction": (2) X is quite bad as it is. (3) We would be much better off if X were done away with, or at least radically transformed."

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