Definition of Biological Determinism
Examples of Biological Determinism
- The idea that certain ethnicities have a natural disposition to commit crime.
- Women and men behave differently due to innate sex differences.
Biological Determinism Pronunciation
Syllabification: bi·o·log·i·cal de·ter·min·ism
- American English – /bie-uh-lAHj-i-kuhl di-tUHR-muh-niz-uhm/
- British English – /bie-uh-lOj-i-kuhl di-tUHR-mi-ni-zuhm/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˌbaɪəˈlɑʤɪkəl dɪˈtɜrməˌnɪzəm/
- British English – /ˌbaɪəʊˈlɒʤɪkəl dɪˈtɜːmɪnɪzm/
- Plural: biological determinisms
- Social determinism is the opposite of biological determinism, but both theories imply that individuals have little or no control their actions, bodies, or decisions.
- Biological determinism has been used to explain crime, mental illness, patriarchy, and poverty or to defend eugenics and Social Darwinism.
- Not to be confused with biological reductionism.
- A type of determinism.
- Also called:
- biodeterminism (bio-determinism)
- genetic determinism
- A (noun) biological determinist views society (adverb) biological deterministically from a (adjective) biological deterministic perspective.
- “Biological models for understanding human behavior rely on the idea that innate biological differences between males and females ‘program’ distinct social behaviors for men and women. This is called biological determinism. Socially based frameworks, such as those coming from the fields of cultural anthropology or sociology, look at variations in behaviors and gender attributes. These approaches highlight the socialization process that teaches boys and girls to live up to the expectations for their respective genders. Either approach on its own—biology or socialization, nature or nurture—is inadequate for explaining complex human beings and why we do what we do” (Tarrant 2009:67).
- Sex and Gender Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “biological” and “determinism” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bilton, Tony, Kevin Bonnett, Pip Jones, David Skinner, Michelle Stanworth, and Andrew Webster. 1996. Introductory Sociology. 3rd ed. London: Macmillan.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “biological determinism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved February 1, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/biological-determinism/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
biological determinism. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/biological-determinism/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “biological determinism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed February 1, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/biological-determinism/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“biological determinism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 1 Feb. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/biological-determinism/>.