ETHNICITY

  21st century is characteristic with the competition and conflict between ethnic groups regarding political sovereignty and control over territories Since the mid-1970s the concept has acquired strategic significance within anthropological theory as a response to the changing postcolonial geopolitics and the rise of ethnic minorities activism in many industrial states .

Ethnicity emerges from historical processes that incorporate distinct social groups into a single political structure under conditions of inequality. . religion or dress.  Ethnic groups: Social groups that are distinguished from one another on the basis of their ethnicity Ethnicity: A principle of social classification used to create groups based on selected cultural features such as language.

common historical experience. and feeling part of an ethnic group exclusion from certain other groups cultural similarities and differences the distinction that arise from language.Ethnicity based on     identification with. kinship etc. religion. geographic isolation. .

Paradox about ethnicity   Ethnicity has become more important in contexts where groups are culturally close and enter into contact with each other regularly. the more similar people become. the more they are concerned about remaining distinctive and different from the other .

Approaches to ethnicity    Primordialist Instrumentalist Constructivist .

when the ability to recognize the members of one’s family group was necessary for survival. . recognition of the group affiliation is genetically encoded.Primordialist   Ethnicity is usually conceptualized as based in biology and determined by genetic and geographical factors.

values and practices of ethnic groups become resources for elites in competition for political power. . The cultural forms. created and manipulated by cultural elites in their pursuit of advantages and power.Instrumentalist   Ethnicity was a product of political myths.

determined by origin and background as well as a form of social organization maintained by inter-group boundary mechanisms.Constructivist   Frederik Barth He treated ethnicity as a continuing ascription which classifies a person in terms of their most general and inclusive identity. .

. Barth stresses the social process. so he actually sees interethnic relations as dynamic and negotiable. cultural traits do not creat ethnicity the focus of the research should be the social boundaries between the groups rather than cultural stuff they contain.Barth’s argument     people are overly concerned with the cultural content or substance of a group. rather than focusing on social processes.

legitimize the existing political order and offer group identity .Shared past   Historical continuity of the group is considered one of the most important elements of an ethnic identity Myths of origin are powerful devices that have the potential to make the sense of the present.

    Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger: Invention of Tradition Example: conflictual history of Cyprus ethnic identity is fluid. Some people assume that the “we-feeling” is the most basic aspect of ethnic identity. . and there is no agreement as to which is fundamental to ethnic identity.

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