The race concept in six regions: Variation without consensus

Leonard Lieberman*, Katarzyna A. Kaszycka, Antonio J. Martinez Fuentes, Leonid Yablonsky, Rodney C. Kirk, Goran Štrkalj, Qian Wang, Li Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Race, once the central concept in physical anthropology worldwide, now varies in the degree of support it receives in different regions. We present the currently available information on the status of the concept in the United States, the Spanish language areas, Poland, Europe, Russia, and China. Rejection of race ranges from high to low with the highest rejection occurring among anthropologists in the United States (and Canada). Rejection of race is moderate in Europe, sizeable in Poland and Cuba, and lowest in Russia and China. A discussion on the scientific and contextual reasons influencing these variations is presented. The tension between scientific evidence and social influences varies from region to region. The methods used in the studies reported here included questionnaires and content analysis. Response rates to questionnaires were often around 50 percent (with exception of the Polish studies). We discuss reasons for the low rates. Although a uniform method of data gathering is desirable, it may not suit scientists working in different traditions of theory and research. We conclude that it is once again timely to discuss the race concept in international meetings where all scientific and political changes occurring throughout the world in recent past decades are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-921
Number of pages15
JournalCollegium Antropologicum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • History of ideas
  • Physical anthropology
  • Populations
  • Race concept
  • Subspecies
  • Variation


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