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Title:The Missing Ideological Link: Functionalist Ideology and the "Scientific" Construction of Race in the 19th Century
Author(s):Marshall, Keith Alan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zine Magubane
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:First, Cuvier's place in the genealogy of the idea of race is greatly expanded beyond his dissection of Saartjie Baartmann. This study argues that Cuvier's theory of functionalism, based upon the teleological principle that form follows function, was the ideological framework that informed Morton and Agassiz's anthropometric research. Cuvier's theories, then, are the intellectual foundation for scientific racism and the modern conception of race as a function of biological factors. Second, the connection to functionalism provides the framework to reaffirm the socially constructed and historically variable nature of race ideology. While Gould, Berkhofer, Bieder, etc. have attempted to demonstrate this, their treatment of Morton and Agassiz falls short because of their failure to recognize the role of Cuvier's functionalism. Without this connection, these authors fall victim to and reaffirm the very attitudinal conception of race they hoped to counter. Finally, this study builds upon the work of Fields, Hall, Gilroy, etc. by showing that ideology construction is the result of a dialectic process between the social environment in which the ideology producer works and the ideologies that shape the producer's worldview. As this study shows, the social, political and intellectual climate of the early 19th century set the stage for empirical methods of ranking the races, but this alone does not explain the rise of polygeny and biological determinism. Instead, one must also understand how ideologies such as functionalism defined the range of possible solutions to the question of empirically ranking the races. Uncovering the dialectic between the social climate and functionalist ideology provides, for the first time, a rich understanding of Morton and Agassiz's construction of polygeny and biological determinism.
Issue Date:2001
Description:201 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3030460
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2001

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