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biological essentialism


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The belief that ‘human nature’, an individual's personality, or some specific quality (such as intelligence, creativity, homosexuality, masculinity, femininity, or a male propensity to aggression) is an innate and natural ‘essence’ (rather than a product of circumstances, upbringing, and culture). The concept is typically invoked where there is a focus on difference, as where females are seen as essentially different from males: see gender essentialism. The term has often been used pejoratively by constructionists; it is also often used synonymously with biological determinism. See also essentialism; compare strategic essentialism.


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