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Inheritance, identity, corruption: Thoughts about three cases of hypodescent.

Abstract : In three different contexts, a structurally identical form of descent came into use: Europe of the Middle Ages with the principle that (the worst wins) ; modern Spain with limpieza de sangre; and the 20(th) century United States with the (one-drop rule). Hypodescent, which occurs more frequently than hyperdescent, assigns the children of a mixed marriage to the subordinate group. This system contrasts with unilineal descent and rejects complex senses of identity such as mulatto or mestizo. Its classification differs from that of 20(th) century racist theories. Even though cases of hypodescent differ from each other as to their finality and sense of identity, they all reflect the same need to classify and the same anxiety about the breeding of (evil). Despite the slight continuity between them, they all belong to the history of strongly growing countries or regions that had to cope with change and otherness.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 5:26:06 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 7:07:03 PM

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Pierre Savy. Inheritance, identity, corruption: Thoughts about three cases of hypodescent.. L'Homme - Revue française d'anthropologie, Éditions de l'EHESS 2007, ? (182), pp.53-80. ⟨hal-00693503⟩

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