by Daniel Gurpide
Vacher de Lapouge was the French founder of a school – Anthroposociology – which wanted to apply the new Darwinian science of evolution to the study of politics. Before WWI, he had followers in Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway and the USA.
I don‘t think Lapouge was ever translated into English, despite his having several American disciples (Madison Grant, Carlos Closson at the University of Chicago). I know he also visited the USA twice (Second International Eugenics Congress in NYC in 1921 and some Conference on Family Planning with Margaret Sanger).
The text in a previous post here:
is a summary of “Les Selections Sociales“ made by Pitirim Sorokin and polished by me to adapt it to modern sensitivities (the original is too politically incorrect).
Sorokin, Professor of Sociology in the University of Minnesota, wrote a work entitled “Contemporary Sociological Theories” in 1928. It contains a chapter on the racial question. The chapter is memorable, for it marks the close of the period in which both sides in the controversy (hereditarians/environmentalists) were free to put forward their views, and authors who wished to do so could give objective accounts of the evidence pointing in each direction. Sorokin supported neither side, he just expressed clearly and shortly the views of both sides in the controversy. The book is worth reading today, as a reminder of what was possible before 1933.
In France, the main opponent of anthroposociology was (((Emile Durkheim))); in the USA, (((Franz Boas))). From the beginning of the thirties onwards scarcely anyone outside Germany and its allies dared to follow the hereditarian school, lest it should appear that they were excusing or supporting the Nazi cause. Anthropology became a strictly ‚cultural‘ discipline.