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Essentialism and Folksociology: Ethnicity Again

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The aim of this article is to show that empirical evidence suggests that no particular causal process of essence acquisition is constitutive for essentialism in folksociology. Innate potential and biological inheritance, however powerful they may be for the human cognitive mind in the domain of folkbiology, are far from necessary in essentialist folksociological classifications. Essentialism in folksociology is not defined by any particular causal process of essence acquisition. Even when we are able to detect the innateness in a particular folksociology, we should always look for other features of essentialism (inherence, sharp boundaries, immutability of identity, etc.). The article reviews some influential cognitive proposals concerning folksociology (Astuti, Gil-White, Hirschfeld), and provides arguments and empirical evidence collected in Western Ukraine in favour of the claim that the innateness is not the constitutive part of sociology, let alone of psychological essentialism.

Affiliations: 1: Fakulta socialnych a ekonomickych vied, Univerzita Komenskeho, 820 05 Bratislava 25, Slovakia


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