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A Technoethical Approach to the Race Problem in Anthropology

A Technoethical Approach to the Race Problem in Anthropology
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Author(s): Michael S. Billinger (Edmonton Police Service, Canada)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 25
Source title: Handbook of Research on Technoethics
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Rebecca Adell (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-022-6.ch004

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Abstract

Despite the fact that analyses of biological populations within species have become increasing sophisticated in recent years, the language used to describe such groups has remained static, thereby reinforcing (and reifying) outdated and inadequate models of variation such as race. This problem is further amplified when the element of human culture is introduced. Drawing on Mario Bunge’s work on technoethics, in which he asserts that technology should be subject to social and moral codes, this chapter argues that the ‘race problem’ should compel anthropologists to exploit technology in order to find workable solutions. One solution to this problem may be found in modern approaches to human skeletal variation using advanced computing techniques such as geometric morphometrics, which allows for the comparison of bone morphology in three dimensions. Coupled with more complex theories of social and genetic exchange, technologically advanced methodologies will allow us to better explore the multidimensional nature of these relationships and to understand how group formation occurs, so that a dynamic approach to classification can be developed.

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