Ethnic group

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An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other, usually on the basis of presumed similarities such as a common language, ancestry, history, society, culture, nation, religion, race or social treatment within their residing area. [1] [2] Ethnicity is often used synonymously with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from, but related to the concept of races.

Contents

Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance. Ethnic groups often continue to speak related languages and share a similar gene pool. By way of language shift, acculturation, adoption and religious conversion, it is sometimes possible for individuals or groups to leave one ethnic group and become part of another. The social construct that ethnic groups share a similar gene pool has been contradicted within the scientific community as evidenced by data finding more genetic variation within ethnic groups compared to between ethnic groups. [3]

The largest ethnic groups in modern times comprise more than one billion individuals each (Han Chinese being the single largest), while the smallest are limited to a few dozen individuals (numerous indigenous peoples worldwide). Ethnic groups may be subdivided into subgroups or tribes, which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due to endogamy or physical isolation from the parent group. Conversely, formerly separate ethnicities can merge to form a pan-ethnicity and may eventually merge into one single ethnicity. Whether through division or amalgamation, the formation of a separate ethnic identity is referred to as ethnogenesis.

Terminology

The term ethnic is derived from the Greek word ἔθνος ethnos (more precisely, from the adjective ἐθνικός ethnikos, [4] which was loaned into Latin as ethnicus). The inherited English language term for this concept is folk , used alongside the latinate people since the late Middle English period.

In Early Modern English and until the mid-19th century, ethnic was used to mean heathen or pagan (in the sense of disparate "nations" which did not yet participate in the Christian oikumene), as the Septuagint used ta ethne ("the nations") to translate the Hebrew goyim "the nations, non-Hebrews, non-Jews". [5] The Greek term in early antiquity (Homeric Greek) could refer to any large group, a host of men, a band of comrades as well as a swarm or flock of animals. In Classical Greek, the term took on a meaning comparable to the concept now expressed by "ethnic group", mostly translated as "nation, people"; only in Hellenistic Greek did the term tend to become further narrowed to refer to "foreign" or "barbarous" nations in particular (whence the later meaning "heathen, pagan"). [6] In the 19th century, the term came to be used in the sense of "peculiar to a race, people or nation", in a return to the original Greek meaning. The sense of "different cultural groups", and in American English "racial, cultural or national minority group" arises in the 1930s to 1940s, [7] serving as a replacement of the term race which had earlier taken this sense but was now becoming deprecated due to its association with ideological racism. The abstract ethnicity had been used for "paganism" in the 18th century, but now came to express the meaning of an "ethnic character" (first recorded 1953). The term ethnic group was first recorded in 1935 and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1972. [8] Depending on the context that is used, the term nationality may either be used synonymously with ethnicity or synonymously with citizenship (in a sovereign state). The process that results in the emergence of an ethnicity is called ethnogenesis, a term in use in ethnological literature since about 1950. The term may also be used with the connotation of something exotic (cf. "ethnic restaurant", etc.), generally related to cultures of more recent immigrants, who arrived after the dominant population of an area was established.

Depending on which source of group identity is emphasized to define membership, the following types of (often mutually overlapping) groups can be identified:

In many cases, more than one aspect determines membership: for instance, Armenian ethnicity can be defined by citizenship of Armenia, native use of the Armenian language, or membership of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Definitions and conceptual history

Ethnography begins in classical antiquity; after early authors like Anaximander and Hecataeus of Miletus, Herodotus in c. 480 BC laid the foundation of both historiography and ethnography of the ancient world. The Greeks at this time did not describe foreign nations but had also developed a concept of their own "ethnicity", which they grouped under the name of Hellenes. Herodotus (8.144.2) gave a famous account of what defined Greek (Hellenic) ethnic identity in his day, enumerating

  1. shared descent (ὅμαιμον - homaimon, "of the same blood"), [9]
  2. shared language (ὁμόγλωσσον - homoglōsson, "speaking the same language") [10]
  3. shared sanctuaries and sacrifices (Greek: θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι - theōn hidrumata te koina kai thusiai) [11]
  4. shared customs (Greek: ἤθεα ὁμότροπα - ēthea homotropa, "customs of like fashion"). [12] [13] [14]

Whether ethnicity qualifies as a cultural universal is to some extent dependent on the exact definition used. Many social scientists, [15] such as anthropologists Fredrik Barth and Eric Wolf, do not consider ethnic identity to be universal. They regard ethnicity as a product of specific kinds of inter-group interactions, rather than an essential quality inherent to human groups. [16] [ irrelevant citation ]

According to Thomas Hylland Eriksen, the study of ethnicity was dominated by two distinct debates until recently.

According to Eriksen, these debates have been superseded, especially in anthropology, by scholars' attempts to respond to increasingly politicized forms of self-representation by members of different ethnic groups and nations. This is in the context of debates over multiculturalism in countries, such as the United States and Canada, which have large immigrant populations from many different cultures, and post-colonialism in the Caribbean and South Asia. [25]

Max Weber maintained that ethnic groups were künstlich (artificial, i.e. a social construct) because they were based on a subjective belief in shared Gemeinschaft (community). Secondly, this belief in shared Gemeinschaft did not create the group; the group created the belief. Third, group formation resulted from the drive to monopolize power and status. This was contrary to the prevailing naturalist belief of the time, which held that socio-cultural and behavioral differences between peoples stemmed from inherited traits and tendencies derived from common descent, then called "race". [26]

Another influential theoretician of ethnicity was Fredrik Barth, whose "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries" from 1969 has been described as instrumental in spreading the usage of the term in social studies in the 1980s and 1990s. [27] Barth went further than Weber in stressing the constructed nature of ethnicity. To Barth, ethnicity was perpetually negotiated and renegotiated by both external ascription and internal self-identification. Barth's view is that ethnic groups are not discontinuous cultural isolates or logical a priority to which people naturally belong. He wanted to part with anthropological notions of cultures as bounded entities, and ethnicity as primordialist bonds, replacing it with a focus on the interface between groups. "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries", therefore, is a focus on the interconnectedness of ethnic identities. Barth writes: "... categorical ethnic distinctions do not depend on an absence of mobility, contact, and information, but do entail social processes of exclusion and incorporation whereby discrete categories are maintained despite changing participation and membership in the course of individual life histories."

In 1978, anthropologist Ronald Cohen claimed that the identification of "ethnic groups" in the usage of social scientists often reflected inaccurate labels more than indigenous realities:

... the named ethnic identities we accept, often unthinkingly, as basic givens in the literature are often arbitrarily, or even worse inaccurately, imposed. [27]

In this way, he pointed to the fact that identification of an ethnic group by outsiders, e.g. anthropologists, may not coincide with the self-identification of the members of that group. He also described that in the first decades of usage, the term ethnicity had often been used in lieu of older terms such as "cultural" or "tribal" when referring to smaller groups with shared cultural systems and shared heritage, but that "ethnicity" had the added value of being able to describe the commonalities between systems of group identity in both tribal and modern societies. Cohen also suggested that claims concerning "ethnic" identity (like earlier claims concerning "tribal" identity) are often colonialist practices and effects of the relations between colonized peoples and nation-states. [27]

According to Paul James, formations of identity were often changed and distorted by colonization, but identities are not made out of nothing:

[C]ategorizations about identity, even when codified and hardened into clear typologies by processes of colonization, state formation or general modernizing processes, are always full of tensions and contradictions. Sometimes these contradictions are destructive, but they can also be creative and positive. [28]

Social scientists have thus focused on how, when, and why different markers of ethnic identity become salient. Thus, anthropologist Joan Vincent observed that ethnic boundaries often have a mercurial character. [29] Ronald Cohen concluded that ethnicity is "a series of nesting dichotomizations of inclusiveness and exclusiveness". [27] He agrees with Joan Vincent's observation that (in Cohen's paraphrase) "Ethnicity ... can be narrowed or broadened in boundary terms in relation to the specific needs of political mobilization. [27] This may be why descent is sometimes a marker of ethnicity, and sometimes not: which diacritic of ethnicity is salient depends on whether people are scaling ethnic boundaries up or down, and whether they are scaling them up or down depends generally on the political situation.

Approaches to understanding ethnicity

Different approaches to understanding ethnicity have been used by different social scientists when trying to understand the nature of ethnicity as a factor in human life and society. As Jonathan M. Hall observes, World War II was a turning point in ethnic studies. The consequences of Nazi racism discouraged essentialist interpretations of ethnic groups and race. Ethnic groups came to be defined as social rather than biological entities. Their coherence was attributed to shared myths, descent, kinship, a commonplace of origin, language, religion, customs, and national character. So, ethnic groups are conceived as mutable rather than stable, constructed in discursive practices rather than written in the genes. [30]

Examples of various approaches are primordialism, essentialism, perennialism, constructivism, modernism, and instrumentalism.

Ethnicity is an important means by which people may identify with a larger group. Many social scientists, such as anthropologists Fredrik Barth and Eric Wolf, do not consider ethnic identity to be universal. They regard ethnicity as a product of specific kinds of inter-group interactions, rather than an essential quality inherent to human groups. [16] Processes that result in the emergence of such identification are called ethnogenesis. Members of an ethnic group, on the whole, claim cultural continuities over time, although historians and cultural anthropologists have documented that many of the values, practices, and norms that imply continuity with the past are of relatively recent invention. [37]

Ethnic groups differ from other social groups, such as subcultures, interest groups or social classes, because they emerge and change over historical periods (centuries) in a process known as ethnogenesis, a period of several generations of endogamy resulting in common ancestry (which is then sometimes cast in terms of a mythological narrative of a founding figure); ethnic identity is reinforced by reference to "boundary markers" - characteristics said to be unique to the group which set it apart from other groups. [38] [39] [40] [41] [42]

Ethnicity theory

Ethnicity theory says that race is a social category and is but one of several factors in determining ethnicity. Some other criteria include: "religion, language, 'customs,' nationality, and political identification". [43] This theory was put forth by sociologist Robert E. Park in the 1920s. It is based on the notion of “culture”.

This theory was preceded by over a century where biological essentialism was the dominant paradigm on race. Biological essentialism is the belief that white European races are biologically superior and other non-white races are inherently inferior. This view arose as a way to justify slavery of Africans and genocide of the Native Americans in a society which was supposedly founded on freedom for all. This was a notion that developed slowly and came to be a preoccupation with scientists, theologians, and the public. Religious institutions asked questions about whether there had been multiple genesis's (polygenesis) and whether God had created lesser races of men. Many of the foremost scientists of the time took up the idea of racial difference. They would inadvertently find that white Europeans were superior. One method that was used as the measurement of cranial capacity. [44]

The ethnicity theory was based on the assimilation model. Park outlined his four steps to assimilation: contact, conflict, accommodation, and assimilation. Instead of explaining the marginalized status of people of color in the United States with an inherent biological inferiority, he instead said that it was a failure to assimilate into American culture that held people back. They could be equal as long as they dropped their culture which was deficient compared to white culture.

Michael Omi and Howard Winant's theory of racial formation directly confronts both ethnicity theory's premises and practices. They argue in Racial Formation in the United States that ethnicity theory was exclusively based on the immigration patterns of a white ethnic population and did not account for the unique experiences of non-whites in this country. [45] While this theory identities different stages in an immigration process – contact, conflict, struggle, and as the last and best response, assimilation – it did so only for white ethnic communities. [45] The ethnicity paradigm neglects the ways that race can complicate a community's interactions with basic social and political structures, especially upon contact.

And assimilation – shedding the particular qualities of a native culture for the purpose of blending in with a host culture – did not work for some groups as a response to racism and discrimination as it did for others. [45] Moreover, once the legal barriers to achieving equality had been dismantled, the problem of racism became the sole responsibility of already disadvantaged communities. [46] It was assumed that if a Black or Latino community was not 'making it' by the standards that had been set by white ethnics, it was because that community did not hold the right values or beliefs. Or they must be stubbornly resisting dominant norms because they did not want to fit in. Omi and Winant's critique of ethnicity theory explains how looking towards a cultural defect for the source of inequality ignores the "concrete sociopolitical dynamics within which racial phenomena operate in the U.S." [47] In other words, buying into this approach effectively strips us of our ability to critically examine the more structural components of racism and encourages, instead, a “benign neglect” of social inequality. [47]

Ethnicity and nationality

In some cases, especially involving transnational migration or colonial expansion, ethnicity is linked to nationality. Anthropologists and historians, following the modernist understanding of ethnicity as proposed by Ernest Gellner [48] and Benedict Anderson [49] see nations and nationalism as developing with the rise of the modern state system in the 17th century. They culminated in the rise of "nation-states" in which the presumptive boundaries of the nation coincided (or ideally coincided) with state boundaries. Thus, in the West, the notion of ethnicity, like race and nation, developed in the context of European colonial expansion, when mercantilism and capitalism were promoting global movements of populations at the same time that state boundaries were being more clearly and rigidly defined.

In the 19th century, modern states generally sought legitimacy through their claim to represent "nations." Nation-states, however, invariably include populations that have been excluded from national life for one reason or another. Members of excluded groups, consequently, will either demand inclusion based on equality or seek autonomy, sometimes even to the extent of complete political separation in their nation-state. [50] Under these conditions – when people moved from one state to another, [51] or one state conquered or colonized peoples beyond its national boundaries – ethnic groups were formed by people who identified with one nation, but lived in another state.

Multi-ethnic states can be the result of two opposite events, either the recent creation of state borders at variance with traditional tribal territories, or the recent immigration of ethnic minorities into a former nation-state. Examples for the first case are found throughout Africa, where countries created during decolonization inherited arbitrary colonial borders, but also in European countries such as Belgium or United Kingdom. Examples for the second case are countries such as Netherlands, which were relatively ethnically homogeneous when they attained statehood but have received significant immigration during the second half of the 20th century. States such as the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland comprised distinct ethnic groups from their formation and have likewise experienced substantial immigration, resulting in what has been termed "multicultural" societies, especially in large cities.

The states of the New World were multi-ethnic from the onset, as they were formed as colonies imposed on existing indigenous populations.

In recent decades feminist scholars (most notably Nira Yuval-Davis) [52] have drawn attention to the fundamental ways in which women participate in the creation and reproduction of ethnic and national categories. Though these categories are usually discussed as belonging to the public, political sphere, they are upheld within the private, family sphere to a great extent. [53] It is here that women act not just as biological reproducers but also as 'cultural carriers', transmitting knowledge and enforcing behaviors that belong to a specific collectivity. [54] Women also often play a significant symbolic role in conceptions of nation or ethnicity, for example in the notion that 'women and children' constitute the kernel of a nation which must be defended in times of conflict, or in iconic figures such as Britannia or Marianne.

Ethnicity and race

The racial diversity of Asia's ethnic groups, Nordisk familjebok (1904) Asiatiska folk, Nordisk familjebok.jpg
The racial diversity of Asia's ethnic groups, Nordisk familjebok (1904)

Ethnicity is used as a matter of cultural identity of a group, often based on shared ancestry, language, and cultural traditions, while race is applied as a taxonomic grouping, based on physical or biological similarities within groups. Race is a more controversial subject than ethnicity, due to common political use of the term. Ramón Grosfoguel (University of California, Berkeley) argues that 'racial/ethnic identity' is one concept and that concepts of race and ethnicity cannot be used as separate and autonomous categories. [55]

Before Weber (1864-1920), race and ethnicity were primarily seen as two aspects of the same thing. Around 1900 and before, the primordialist understanding of ethnicity predominated: cultural differences between peoples were seen as being the result of inherited traits and tendencies. [56] With Weber's introduction of the idea of ethnicity as a social construct, race and ethnicity became more divided from each other.

In 1950 the UNESCO statement, "The Race Question", signed by some of the internationally renowned scholars of the time (including Ashley Montagu, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Gunnar Myrdal, Julian Huxley, etc.), stated:

"National, religious, geographic, linguistic and cultural groups do not necessarily coincide with racial groups: and the cultural traits of such groups have no demonstrated genetic connection with racial traits. Because serious errors of this kind are habitually committed when the term 'race' is used in popular parlance, it would be better when speaking of human races to drop the term 'race' altogether and speak of 'ethnic groups'." [57]

In 1982 anthropologist David Craig Griffith summed up forty years of ethnographic research, arguing that racial and ethnic categories are symbolic markers for different ways that people from different parts of the world have been incorporated into a global economy:

The opposing interests that divide the working classes are further reinforced through appeals to "racial" and "ethnic" distinctions. Such appeals serve to allocate different categories of workers to rungs on the scale of labor markets, relegating stigmatized populations to the lower levels and insulating the higher echelons from competition from below. Capitalism did not create all the distinctions of ethnicity and race that function to set off categories of workers from one another. It is, nevertheless, the process of labor mobilization under capitalism that imparts to these distinctions their effective values. [58]

According to Wolf, racial categories were constructed and incorporated during the period of European mercantile expansion, and ethnic groupings during the period of capitalist expansion. [59]

Writing in 1977 about the usage of the term "ethnic" in the ordinary language of Great Britain and the United States, Wallman noted that

The term 'ethnic' popularly connotes '[race]' in Britain, only less precisely, and with a lighter value load. In North America, by contrast, '[race]' most commonly means color, and 'ethnics' are the descendants of relatively recent immigrants from non-English-speaking countries. '[Ethnic]' is not a noun in Britain. In effect there are no 'ethnics'; there are only 'ethnic relations'. [60]

In the U.S., the OMB states the definition of race as used for the purposes of the US Census is not "scientific or anthropological" and takes into account "social and cultural characteristics as well as ancestry", using "appropriate scientific methodologies" that are not "primarily biological or genetic in reference". [61]

Ethno-national conflict

Sometimes ethnic groups are subject to prejudicial attitudes and actions by the state or its constituents. In the 20th century, people began to argue that conflicts among ethnic groups or between members of an ethnic group and the state can and should be resolved in one of two ways. Some, like Jürgen Habermas and Bruce Barry, have argued that the legitimacy of modern states must be based on a notion of political rights of autonomous individual subjects. According to this view, the state should not acknowledge ethnic, national or racial identity but rather instead enforce political and legal equality of all individuals. Others, like Charles Taylor and Will Kymlicka, argue that the notion of the autonomous individual is itself a cultural construct. According to this view, states must recognize ethnic identity and develop processes through which the particular needs of ethnic groups can be accommodated within the boundaries of the nation-state.

The 19th century saw the development of the political ideology of ethnic nationalism, when the concept of race was tied to nationalism, first by German theorists including Johann Gottfried von Herder. Instances of societies focusing on ethnic ties, arguably to the exclusion of history or historical context, have resulted in the justification of nationalist goals. Two periods frequently cited as examples of this are the 19th-century consolidation and expansion of the German Empire and the 20th century Nazi Germany. Each promoted the pan-ethnic idea that these governments were only acquiring lands that had always been inhabited by ethnic Germans. The history of late-comers to the nation-state model, such as those arising in the Near East and south-eastern Europe out of the dissolution of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, as well as those arising out of the former USSR, is marked by inter-ethnic conflicts. Such conflicts usually occur within multi-ethnic states, as opposed to between them, as in other regions of the world. Thus, the conflicts are often misleadingly labeled and characterized as civil wars when they are inter-ethnic conflicts in a multi-ethnic state.

Ethnic groups by continent

Africa

Ethnic groups in Africa number in the hundreds, each generally having its own language (or dialect of a language) and culture.

Many ethnic groups and nations of Africa qualify, although some groups are of a size larger than a tribal society. These mostly originate with the Sahelian kingdoms of the medieval period, such as that of the Akan, deriving from Bonoman (11th century) then the Kingdom of Ashanti (17th century). [62]

Asia

The Assyrians are the indigenous peoples of Northern Iraq. Assyriankhigga.jpg
The Assyrians are the indigenous peoples of Northern Iraq.

Ethnic groups are abundant throughout Asia, with adaptations to the climate zones of Asia, which can be the Arctic, subarctic, temperate, subtropical or tropical. The ethnic groups have adapted to mountains, deserts, grasslands, and forests.

On the coasts of Asia, the ethnic groups have adopted various methods of harvest and transport. Some groups are primarily hunter-gatherers, some practice transhumance (nomadic lifestyle), others have been agrarian/rural for millennia and others becoming industrial/urban. Some groups/countries of Asia are completely urban, such as those in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. The colonization of Asia was largely ended in the 20th century, with national drives for independence and self-determination across the continent.

Europe

The Basque people constitute an indigenous ethnic minority in both France and Spain. Olentzero, Beasain.jpg
The Basque people constitute an indigenous ethnic minority in both France and Spain.
The Irish are an ethnic group indigenous to Ireland of which 70-80 million people worldwide claim ancestry. Irish dancers in team costume, Davis Academy, USA.jpg
The Irish are an ethnic group indigenous to Ireland of which 70-80 million people worldwide claim ancestry.

Europe has a large number of ethnic groups; Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities within every state they inhabit (although they may form local regional majorities within a sub-national entity). The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people or 14% of 770 million Europeans. [64]

A number of European countries, including France, [65] and Switzerland do not collect information on the ethnicity of their resident population.

Russia has over 185 recognized ethnic groups besides the 80% ethnic Russian majority. The largest group is the Tatars 3.8%. Many of the smaller groups are found in the Asian part of Russia (see Indigenous peoples of Siberia).

An example of a largely nomadic ethnic group in Europe is the Roma, pejoratively known as Gypsies. They originated from India and speak the Romani language.

Serbian province of Vojvodina is recognizable for its multi-ethnic and multi-cultural identity. [66] [67] There are some 26 ethnic groups in the province, [68] and six languages are in official use by the provincial administration. [69]

North America

South America

Oceania

New Zealand

Australia

See also

Related Research Articles

Ethnocentrism Judging another culture solely by the values and standards of ones own culture

Ethnocentrism in social science and anthropology—as well as in colloquial English discourse—means to apply our own culture as a frame of reference in order to judge other cultures, practices, behaviors, beliefs, and people, instead of using the standards of the particular culture involved. Since this judgement is often negative, some people also use the term to refer to the belief that one's culture is superior to, or more correct or normal than, all others—especially regarding the distinctions that define each ethnicity's cultural identity, such as language, behavior, customs, and religion. In common usage, it can also simply mean any culturally biased judgment. For example, ethnocentrism can be seen in the common portrayals of the Global South and the Global North.

Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics of culture, ethnicity, geographic location, language, politics, religion, traditions and belief in a shared singular history —and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional cultures, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism.

Racism race or ethnic-based discrimination

Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities.

A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations. By the 17th century the term began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits. Modern scholarship regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partially based on physical similarities within groups, race does not have an inherent physical or biological meaning.

Tribe Social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states; Alternately, a sovereign nation

The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understandings of social and kinship structures, and also reflecting the problematic application of this concept to extremely diverse human societies. The concept is often contrasted by anthropologists with other social and kinship groups, being hierarchically larger than a lineage or clan, but smaller than a chiefdom, nation or state. These terms are equally disputed. In some cases tribes have legal recognition and some degree of political autonomy from national or federal government, but this legalistic usage of the term may conflict with anthropological definitions.

The concept of race as a rough division of anatomically modern humans has a long and complicated history. The word race itself is modern and was used in the sense of "nation, ethnic group" during the 16th to 19th centuries and acquired its modern meaning in the field of physical anthropology only from the mid-19th century. The politicization of the field under the concept of racism in the 20th century led to a decline in racial studies during the 1930s to 1980s, culminating in a poststructuralist deconstruction of race as a social construct.

Caucasian race Outdated grouping of human beings

The Caucasian race is an outdated grouping of human beings historically regarded as a biological taxon, which, depending on which of the historical race classifications is used, has usually included ancient and modern populations from all or parts of Europe, Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

Identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person or group. One can regard the categorizing of identity as positive or as destructive.

History of anthropology in this article refers primarily to the 18th- and 19th-century precursors of modern anthropology. The term anthropology itself, innovated as a New Latin scientific word during the Renaissance, has always meant "the study of man". The topics to be included and the terminology have varied historically. At present they are more elaborate than they were during the development of anthropology. For a presentation of modern social and cultural anthropology as they have developed in Britain, France, and North America since approximately 1900, see the relevant sections under Anthropology.

Fredrik Barth Norwegian social anthropologist

Thomas Fredrik Weybye Barth was a Norwegian social anthropologist who published several ethnographic books with a clear formalist view. He was a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Boston University, and previously held professorships at the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, Emory University and Harvard University. He was appointed a government scholar in 1985.

Historiography is the study of how history is written. One pervasive influence upon the writing of history has been nationalism, a set of beliefs about political legitimacy and cultural identity. Nationalism has provided a significant framework for historical writing in Europe and in those former colonies influenced by Europe since the nineteenth century. According to the medieval historian Patrick J. Geary:

[The] modern [study of] history was born in the nineteenth century, conceived and developed as an instrument of European nationalism. As a tool of nationalist ideology, the history of Europe's nations was a great success, but it has turned our understanding of the past into a toxic waste dump, filled with the poison of ethnic nationalism, and the poison has seeped deep into popular consciousness.

Primordialism or perennialism is the argument which contends that nations are ancient, natural phenomena; i.e. that an idea of a nation will ultimately develop within any group with shared cultural characteristics.

Social interpretations of race regard the common categorizations of people into different races, often with biologist tagging of particular "racial" attributes beyond mere anatomy, as more socially and culturally determined than based upon biology. Some interpretations are often deconstructionist and poststructuralist in that they critically analyze the historical construction and development of racial categories.

An ethnic majority describes the numerical dominance of individuals of an ethnic group within the total population of a particular political or geographical entity. Ethnicity refers to genealogy, language, culture, identification with a historical social group and behavioral practices inherited from ancestors, among others, such as diet, art and religion.

Racial whitening, or "whitening" (branqueamento), is an ideology that was widely accepted in Brazil between 1889 and 1914, as the solution to the "Negro problem." However, racial whitening specific to Brazil also encompasses the perception of individuals as being white in relation to their position in the class system. Supporters of the Whitening ideology believed that the Negro race would advance culturally and genetically, or even disappear totally, within several generations of mixed breeding between white people and black people. This ideology gained its support from two scientific racism beliefs that were prominent during this time. One being social Darwinism, which applied Darwin's theory of natural selection to a society or race, and the other being Aryanism, the belief that the "white" "Aryan" race was superior to all other cultures. By combining these two ideas, the white elites of the time believed that because "white" blood was superior it would inevitably "whiten" the inferior races' blood.

Racial formation theory is an analytical tool in sociology, developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant, which is used to look at race as a socially constructed identity, where the content and importance of racial categories are determined by social, economic, and political forces. Unlike other traditional race theories, "In [Omi and Winant's] view, racial meanings pervade US society, extending from the shaping of individual racial identities to the structuring of collective political action on the terrain of the state".

Race and ethnicity in Latin America

There is no single system of races or ethnicities that covers all modern Latin America, and usage of labels may vary substantially. In Mexico, for example, the category mestizo is not defined or applied the same as the corresponding category of mestiço in Brazil. In spite of these differences, the construction of race in Latin America can be contrasted with concepts of race and ethnicity in the United States. The ethno-racial composition of modern-day Latin American nations combines diverse Amerindian populations, with influence from Iberian and other European colonizers, and equally diverse African groups brought to the Americas as slave labor, and also recent immigrant groups from all over the world.

Ethnosymbolism is a school of thought in the study of nationalism that stresses the importance of symbols, myths, values and traditions in the formation and persistence of the modern nation state.

This bibliography of anthropology lists some notable publications in the field of anthropology, including its various subfields. It is not comprehensive and continues to be developed. It also includes a number of works that are not by anthropologists but are relevant to the field, such as literary theory, sociology, psychology, and philosophical anthropology.

Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity.

References

  1. "ethnicity: definition of ethnicity". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  2. People, James; Bailey, Garrick (2010). Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (9th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage learning. p. 389. In essence, an ethnic group is a named social category of people based on perceptions of shared social experience or one's ancestors' experiences. Members of the ethnic group see themselves as sharing cultural traditions and history that distinguish them from other groups. Ethnic group identity has a strong psychological or emotional component that divides the people of the world into opposing categories of “us” and “them.” In contrast to social stratification, which divides and unifies people along a series of horizontal axes based on socioeconomic factors, ethnic identities divide and unify people along a series of vertical axes. Thus, ethnic groups, at least theoretically, cut across socioeconomic class differences, drawing members from all strata of the population.
  3. Heyer, E. (1 September 2009). "Genetic diversity and the emergence of ethnic groups in Central Asia". BMC Genetics. 10 (49): 49. doi:10.1186/1471-2156-10-49. PMC   2745423 . PMID   19723301.
  4. ἐθνικός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  5. ThiE. Tonkin, M. McDonald and M. Chapman, History and Ethnicity (London 1989), pp. 11–17 (quoted in J. Hutchinson & A.D. Smith (eds.), Oxford readers: Ethnicity (Oxford 1996), pp. 18–24)
  6. ἔθνος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  7. Oxford English Dictionary Second edition, online version as of 2008-01-12, "ethnic, a. and n.". Cites Sir Daniel Wilson, The archæology and prehistoric annals of Scotland 1851 (1863) and Huxley & Haddon (1935), We Europeans, pp. 136,181
  8. Cohen, Ronald. (1978) "Ethnicity: Problem and Focus in Anthropology", Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 1978. 7:379-403; Glazer, Nathan and Daniel P. Moynihan (1975) Ethnicity – Theory and Experience, Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard University Press. The modern usage definition of the Oxford English Dictionary is:
    a[djective]
    ...
    2.a. About race; peculiar to a race or nation; ethnological. Also, about or having common racial, cultural, religious, or linguistic characteristics, esp. designating a racial or other group within a larger system; hence (U.S. colloq.), foreign, exotic.
    b ethnic minority (group), a group of people differentiated from the rest of the community by racial origins or cultural background, and usu. claiming or enjoying official recognition of their group identity. Also attrib.
    n[oun]
    ...
    3 A member of an ethnic group or minority. Equatorians
    (Oxford English Dictionary Second edition, online version as of 2008-01-12, s.v. "ethnic, a. and n.")
  9. ὅμαιμος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  10. ὁμόγλωσσος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  11. I. Polinskaya, "Shared sanctuaries and the gods of others: On the meaning Of 'common' in Herodotus 8.144", in R. Rosen & I. Sluiter (eds.), Valuing others in Classical Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 43-70.
  12. ὁμότροπος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus)
  13. Herodotus, 8.144.2: "The kinship of all Greeks in blood and speech, and the shrines of gods and the sacrifices that we have in common, and the likeness of our way of life."
  14. Athena S. Leoussi, Steven Grosby, Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture, and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, p. 115
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  16. 1 2 Fredrik Barth, ed. 1969 Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference; Eric Wolf 1982 Europe and the People Without History p. 381
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  20. J. Hutchinson & A.D. Smith (eds.), Oxford readers: Ethnicity (Oxford 1996), "Introduction", 8-9
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  26. Banton, Michael. (2007) "Weber on Ethnic Communities: A critique", Nations and Nationalism 13 (1), 2007, 19–35.
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 Ronald Cohen 1978 "Ethnicity: Problem and Focus in Anthropology", Annual Review of Anthropology 7: 383-384 Palo Alto: Stanford University Press
  28. James, Paul (2015). "Despite the Terrors of Typologies: The Importance of Understanding Categories of Difference and Identity". Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 17 (2): 174–195. doi:10.1080/1369801X.2014.993332.
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  31. 1 2 3 ( Smith 1999 , p. 13)
  32. Smith (1998), 159.
  33. Smith (1999), 5.
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  43. Omi & Winant 1986 , p. 15
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  47. 1 2 Omi & Winant 1986 , p. 21
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  65. (in French)article 8 de la loi Informatique et libertés, 1978: "Il est interdit de collecter ou de traiter des données à caractère personnel qui font apparaître, directement ou indirectement, les origines raciales ou ethniques, les opinions politiques, philosophiques ou religieuses ou l'appartenance syndicale des personnes, ou qui sont relatives à la santé ou à la vie sexuelle de celles-ci."
  66. Lux, Gábor; Horváth, Gyula (2017). The Routledge Handbook to Regional Development in Central and Eastern Europe. Taylor & Francis. p. 190.
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Further reading