Biological determinism and symbolic interaction : hereditary streams and cultural roads

Dingwall, R., Nerlich, B. and Hillyard, Sam (2003) Biological determinism and symbolic interaction : hereditary streams and cultural roads. Symbolic interaction., 26 (4). pp. 631-644. ISSN UNSPECIFIED

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1525/si.2003.26.4.631

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

This article discusses current claims to have demonstrated a biological basis for elements of human behavior. It argues that many of these are seriously flawed by their misunderstandings of the nature of culture and social interaction, which leads to the adoption of an inappropriate realist epistemology. These issues were extensively debated during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the intellectual and institutional boundaries between the social and biological sciences were more fluid. The arguments of that period about the role of ?instinct? in human behavior are important resources for responding to the recent revival of biological determinism. As defined by Blumer and Strauss, however, symbolic interactionism has moved away from its engagement with biology. This article argues for reengagement and for a reappraisal of the historical resources available to sociologists in sifting the ?imperialist? claims of biology while acknowledging the importance of embodiment as a constraint on social constructionism.

ID Code:38728
Deposited On:13 Nov 2019 10:14

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