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A non-essentialist theory of race: the case of an Afro-indigenous village in northern Peru

Hale, Tamara (2015) A non-essentialist theory of race: the case of an Afro-indigenous village in northern Peru. Social Anthropology, 23 (2). pp. 135-151. ISSN 0964-0282

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1469-8676.12123


In the village of Yapatera, Peru, there exists a folk theory of race which posits that humans cannot be divided into mutually exclusive racial groups and that personhood is both physiologically and socially ‘mixed’. By engaging with the psychological literature on racial essentialism (i.e. the tendency to view humans in terms of discrete categories, as if they were natural kinds), this article digs deeper into the local folk theory of race. Experimental tasks were designed to test the inductive potential of race and revealed that villagers are far more likely to use other social categories (class, religion, kinship and place of origins) than race to base their inferences. The article discusses the use of experimental tasks as a vehicle for a different sort of conversation between ethnographer and informants.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors Social Anthropology/Anthopologie sociale published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Association of Social Anthropologists © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2015 10:25
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 03:02
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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