A Qualitative Analysis of How Anthropologists Interpret the Race Construct

Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe, Jennifer K. Wagner, Joon Ho Yu, Tanya M. Harrell, Michael J. Bamshad, Charmaine D. Royal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This article assesses anthropological thinking about the race concept and its applications. Drawn from a broader national survey of geneticists’ and anthropologists’ views on race, in this analysis, we provide a qualitative account of anthropologists’ perspectives. We delve deeper than simply asserting that “race is a social construct.” Instead, we explore the differential ways in which anthropologists describe and interpret how race is constructed. Utilizing the heuristic of constructors, shifters, and reconcilers, we also illustrate the ways in which anthropologists conceptualize their interpretations of race along a broad spectrum as well as what these differential approaches reveal about the ideological and biological consequences of socially defined races, such as racism in general and racialized health disparities in particular. [race concept, social construction, racism, health disparities].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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