Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Race, Comparative Perspectives
John Stone & Polly Rizova
The idea that human societies can be divided into distinct and genetically different racial groups has a long pedigree. Although this assumption has been discredited by scientific evidence for many decades, the concept of race lives on in much of the popular imagination. One of the best approaches to demonstrate that racial groups are socially constructed is to view the many ways in which the categorization of such groups takes place and the many forms that the dynamics of racial conflict exhibit. This entry considers race relations from a comparative perspective—analyzing them both from a historical and a cross-cultural vantage point—which soon reveals the limited plausibility of a biological explanation of race relations. A classic illustration of the historical analysis of race can be found in the mid-19th-century debates between Alexis de Tocqueville and Arthur de Gobineau concerning the latter's contention about the central role of racial struggles in human ...