Form and race: Terminological concepts for the study of human variation

Goran Štrkalj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The author notes the debate amongst Western anthropologists concerning the various ways in which term 'race' can be used in scientific writing, and refers to animal taxonomy in an attempt to determine principles on which universal paradigmatic principles governing scholarly usage of the term might be based. As amongst anthropologists, animal taxonomists used the term 'race' in two different ways, sometimes as equivalent to 'subspecies' and sometimes as synonymous with 'breeding population.' However, some taxonomists use the term 'form' when referring to identifiable and distinctive populations linked to other populations by genetic clines, and it is suggested that much confusion might be avoided if anthropologists applied the term 'race' only to genetically discrete and clearly distinctive 'breeding populations,' using the broader term 'form' when seeking to classify humankind at large on the basis of such identifiable phenotypical characteristics as may best serve their specific research goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalMankind Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal taxonomy
  • Breeding populations
  • Form
  • Race
  • Sub-species


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