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An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of
people A people is any plurality of persons considered as a whole. Used in politics and law it is a term to refer to the collective or community of an ethnic group, a nation, to the public or common people, common mass of people of a polity. As suc ...

people
who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area. Ethnicity is sometimes used interchangeably with the term
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
, particularly in cases of
ethnic nationalism Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the ...
, and is separate from the related concept of races. Ethnicity may be construed as an inherited or as a societally imposed construct. Ethnic membership tends to be defined by a shared
cultural heritage Cultural heritage is the legacy of tangible and intangible heritage assetA heritage asset is an item that has value because of its contribution to a nation’s society, knowledge and/or culture. They are usually physical assets, but some countries ...
,
ancestry An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily ...
,
origin myth An origin myth is a myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or supernatural humans. ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
,
homeland A homeland is the concept of the place where a cultural, national, or racial identity had formed. The definition can also mean simply one's country of birth. When used as a proper noun, the Homeland, as well as its equivalents in other languag ...
,
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
, or
dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of phenomena: * One usage refers to a of a that is a characteristic of a particular group of ...
, symbolic systems such as
religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...

religion
,
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

mythology
and
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized, ...

ritual
,
cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the Earth, world, from grill ...

cuisine
,
dressing style
dressing style
,
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use o ...

art
, or
physical appearance Human physical appearance is the outward phenotype right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of petal color in pea plants. The letters B and b represent genes for color ...
. Ethnic groups may share a narrow or broad spectrum of genetic ancestry, depending on group identification, with many groups having mixed genetic ancestry. Ethnic groups often continue to speak related languages. By way of
language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community Arnold Lakhovsky, ''The Conversation'' (circa 1935) A speech community is a group of people who share a s ...
,
acculturation The four essential (paradigm) forms of acculturation Acculturation is a process of social, psychological, and cultural changeCulture change is a term used in public policy making that emphasizes the influence of cultural capital on individual and ...
,
adoption Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting Parenting or child rearing promotes and supports the physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' ...

adoption
and
religious conversion Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular to the exclusion of others. Thus "religious conversion" would describe the abandoning of adherence to one denomination and affiliating with another. This m ...
, individuals or groups may over time shift from one ethnic group to another. Ethnic groups may be subdivided into subgroups or
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

tribe
s, which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due to
endogamy Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of un ...
or physical isolation from the parent group. Conversely, formerly separate ethnicities can merge to form a
pan-ethnicity Panethnicity is a political used to group various together based on their related cultural origins; geographic, linguistic, religious, or 'racial' similarities are often used alone or in combination to draw panethnic boundaries. The term paneth ...
and may eventually
merge into one single ethnicity
merge into one single ethnicity
. Whether through division or amalgamation, the formation of a separate ethnic identity is referred to as
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (from Greek Language, Greek ''ethnos'' , "group of people, nation" and ''genesis'' , "beginning, coming into being"; plural ethnogeneses) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate through a process of ...
. Although both organic and performative criteria characterise ethnic groups, debate in the past had dichotomised between primordialism and constructivism. Earlier twentieth century 'Primordialists' viewed ethnic groups as real phenomena whose distinct characteristics have endured since the distant past. Perspectives which developed after 1960s increasingly viewed ethnic groups as ''social constructs'', with identity assigned by societal rules.


Terminology

The term ''
ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancest ...
'' is derived from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
word ἔθνος ''ethnos'' (more precisely, from the adjective ἐθνικός ''ethnikos'', which was loaned into
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
as ''ethnicus''). The inherited English language term for this concept is ''
folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk metal *** Folk punk *** Folk rock *** British folk rock ** Folk religion * Folk taxonomy Arts, entertainment, and media ...
'', used alongside the latinate ''
people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field wh ...
'' since the
late Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarl ...
period. In
Early Modern English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient th ...
and until the mid-19th century, ''ethnic'' was used to mean
heathen__NOTOC__ Heathen or Heathens may refer to: Religion *Heathen, another name for a pagan Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used pejoratively in the fourth century by early Christia ...
or
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
(in the sense of disparate "nations" which did not yet participate in the
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
oikumene The ecumene (American English, US spelling) or oecumene (British English, UK spelling; grc-gre, οἰκουμένη, oikouménē, inhabited) is an ancient Greek term for the known, the inhabited, or the habitable world. In Greek antiquity, it refe ...
), as the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
used ''ta ethne'' ("the nations") to translate the Hebrew ''
goyim In modern Hebrew Modern Hebrew ( he, עברית חדשה, ''ʿivrít ḥadašá ', , ''.'' "Modern Hebrew" or "New Hebrew"), also known as Israeli Hebrew or Israeli, and generally referred to by speakers simply as Hebrew ( ), is the stand ...
'' "the nations, non-Hebrews, non-Jews". The Greek term in early antiquity (
Homeric Greek Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the ''Iliad'' and ''Odyssey'' and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic Greek, Ionic and Aeolic Greek, Aeolic, with a fe ...
) 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 Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
, the term took on a meaning comparable to the concept now expressed by "ethnic group", mostly translated as "
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...
, people"; only in
Hellenistic Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period ...

Hellenistic Greek
did the term tend to become further narrowed to refer to "foreign" or "
barbarous Barbarism, barbarity, or barbarous may refer to: * Barbarism (linguistics) A barbarism is a nonstandard word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with se ...
" nations in particular (whence the later meaning "heathen, pagan"). 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, 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 Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

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. Depending on context, the term
nationality Nationality is a of a person in , establishing the person as a subject, a ''national'', of a . It affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state against other states. Article 15 of the stat ...
may be used either synonymously with ethnicity or synonymously with
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...

citizenship
(in a sovereign state). The process that results in emergence of an ethnicity is called
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (from Greek Language, Greek ''ethnos'' , "group of people, nation" and ''genesis'' , "beginning, coming into being"; plural ethnogeneses) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate through a process of ...
, a term in use in
ethnological Ethnology (from the grc-gre, ἔθνος, meaning 'nation') is an academic field that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationships between them (compare cultural anthropology, cultural, social anthropolog ...
literature since about 1950. The term may also be used with the connotation of something
exotic Exotic may refer to: Mathematics and physics *Exotic R4, Exotic R4, a differentiable 4-manifold, homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to the Euclidean space R4 *Exotic sphere, a differentiable ''n''-manifold, homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to th ...
(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 A group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together. Groups of people * Cultural group, a group whose members share the same cultural identity * Ethnic group, a group whose members share the same ethnic identi ...
is emphasized to define membership, the following types of (often mutually overlapping) groups can be identified: * Ethno-linguistic, emphasizing shared
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
,
dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of phenomena: * One usage refers to a of a that is a characteristic of a particular group of ...
(and possibly script)example:
French Canadians French Canadians (referred to as Canadiens mainly before the twentieth century ; french: Canadiens français, ; feminine form: , ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identif ...
* Ethno-national, emphasizing a shared
polity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cog ...
or sense of
national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one or more states or to one or more nations A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language A language is a structured system of communication us ...
example:
Austrians Austrians (german: Österreicher) are a Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Pro ...
* Ethno-racial, emphasizing shared physical appearance based on phenotypes example:
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
* Ethno-regional, emphasizing a distinct local sense of belonging stemming from relative geographic isolationexample: South Islanders of
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
*
Ethno-religious An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common ...
, emphasizing shared affiliation with a particular religion, denomination or sectexample:
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
* Ethno-cultural, emphasizing shared
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
or
tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

tradition
, often overlapping with other forms of ethnicityexample: Travellers In many cases, more than one aspect determines membership: for instance,
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
ethnicity can be defined by
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
n citizenship, native use of the
Armenian language Armenian (Classical Armenian orthography, classical: , Armenian orthography reform, reformed: , , ) is an Indo-European languages, Indo-European language belonging to an independent branch of which it is the only member. It is the official language ...
, or membership of the
Armenian Apostolic Church , native_name_lang = hy , icon = Armenian Apostolic Church logo.png , icon_width = 100px , icon_alt = , image = Էջմիածնի_Մայր_Տաճար.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , al ...
.


Definitions and conceptual history

Ethnography Ethnography (from ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch of and the systematic study of individual s. Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography ...
begins in
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
; after early authors like
Anaximander Anaximander (; grc-gre, Ἀναξίμανδρος ''Anaximandros''; ) was a who lived in ,"Anaximander" in '. London: , 1961, Vol. 1, p. 403. a city of (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the and learned the teachings of his master . He s ...

Anaximander
and
Hecataeus of Miletus Hecataeus of Miletus (; el, Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Μιλήσιος; c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), son of Hegesander, was an early Ancient Greece, Greek historian and geographer. Biography Hailing from a very wealthy family, he lived in Miletus ...
,
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
laid the foundation of both
historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians hav ...

historiography
and
ethnography Ethnography (from ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch of and the systematic study of individual s. Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography ...

ethnography
of the ancient world . The Greeks had developed a concept of their own "ethnicity", which they grouped under the name of
Hellenes The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group native to Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, Italy, Greeks in Turkey#History, Turkey, Greeks in Egypt, Egypt and, to a l ...
. Herodotus (8.144.2) gave a famous account of what defined Greek (Hellenic) ethnic identity in his day, enumerating #shared descent (ὅμαιμον''homaimon'', "of the same blood"), #shared
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
(ὁμόγλωσσον''homoglōsson'', "speaking the same language"), #shared
sanctuaries violates Cassandra's sanctuary at the Palladium: tondo of an Attic cup, ca. 440–430 BCE A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a haven, by extension the term has come to be u ...
and
sacrifices Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship. Evidence of ritual animal sacrifice has been seen at least ancient Hebrew and ...

sacrifices
(Greek: θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι''theōn hidrumata te koina kai thusiai''), #shared
customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that u ...

customs
(Greek: ἤθεα ὁμότροπα''ēthea homotropa'', "customs of like fashion"). Whether ethnicity qualifies as a
cultural universal A cultural universal (also called an anthropological universal or human universal) is an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all known human culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior ...
is to some extent dependent on the exact definition used. Many social scientists, such as
anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
Fredrik Barth Thomas Fredrik Weybye Barth (22 December 1928 – 24 January 2016) was a Norwegian social anthropologist who published several ethnographic Ethnography (from Greek ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch ...

Fredrik Barth
and
Eric Wolf Eric Robert Wolf (February 1, 1923 – March 6, 1999) was an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
, 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. According to
Thomas Hylland Eriksen Thomas Hylland Eriksen (born February 6, 1962) is a Norwegian Anthropology, anthropologist. He is currently a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo, as well as the 2015–2016 president of the European Association of Social Ant ...

Thomas Hylland Eriksen
, the study of ethnicity was dominated by two distinct debates until recently. * One is between "
primordialismPrimordialism is the idea that nations or ethnic identities are fixed, natural and ancient.Jack Hayward, Brian Barry, Archie Brown (2003) p 330 Primordialists argue that individuals have a single ethnic identity which is not subject to change and w ...
" and "
instrumentalism In philosophy of science and in epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemolog ...
". In the primordialist view, the participant perceives ethnic ties collectively, as an externally given, even coercive, social bond. The
instrumentalist A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person w ...
approach, on the other hand, treats ethnicity primarily as an ad hoc element of a political strategy, used as a resource for interest groups for achieving secondary goals such as, for instance, an increase in wealth, power, or status. This debate is still an important point of reference in
Political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
, although most scholars' approaches fall between the two poles. * The second debate is between "
constructivism Constructivism may refer to: Art and architecture * Constructivism (art), an early 20th-century artistic movement that extols art as a practice for social purposes * Constructivist architecture, an architectural movement in Russia in the 1920s an ...
" and "
essentialism Essentialism is the view that objects have a set of attributes that are necessary to their identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group ...
". Constructivists view national and ethnic identities as the product of historical forces, often recent, even when the identities are presented as old. Essentialists view such identities as
ontological Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Ph ...
categories defining social actors. According to , these debates have been superseded, especially in
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, 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 The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
and
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia cov ...

South Asia
.
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
maintained that ethnic groups were ''künstlich'' (artificial, i.e. a
social construct Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epist ...
) because they were based on a subjective belief in shared ''
Gemeinschaft ''Gemeinschaft'' () and ''Gesellschaft'' (), generally translated as "community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of design ...

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". Another influential theoretician of ethnicity was
Fredrik Barth Thomas Fredrik Weybye Barth (22 December 1928 – 24 January 2016) was a Norwegian social anthropologist who published several ethnographic Ethnography (from Greek ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch ...

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. 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: 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.Ronald Cohen 1978 "Ethnicity: Problem and Focus in Anthropology", ''Annual Review of Anthropology'' 7: 383–384 Palo Alto: Stanford University Press According to Paul James, formations of identity were often changed and distorted by colonization, but identities are not made out of nothing: 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. Ronald Cohen concluded that ethnicity is "a series of nesting dichotomizations of inclusiveness and exclusiveness". 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. 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. Kanchan Chandra rejects the expansive definitions of ethnic identity (such as those that include common culture, common language, common history and common territory), choosing instead to define ethnic identity narrowly as a subset of identity categories determined by the belief of common descent.


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. Examples of various approaches are primordialism, essentialism, perennialism, constructivism, modernism, and instrumentalism. * "''Primordialism''", holds that ethnicity has existed at all times of human history and that modern ethnic groups have historical continuity into the far past. For them, the idea of ethnicity is closely linked to the idea of nations and is rooted in the pre-Weber understanding of humanity as being divided into primordially existing groups rooted by
kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states th ...

kinship
and biological heritage. ** "''Essentialist primordialism''" further holds that ethnicity is an ''a priori'' fact of human existence, that ethnicity precedes any human social interaction and that it is unchanged by it. This theory sees ethnic groups as natural, not just as historical. It also has problems dealing with the consequences of intermarriage, migration and colonization for the composition of modern-day multi-ethnic
societies A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, political authority ...

societies
. ** "''Kinship primordialism''" holds that ethnic communities are extensions of kinship units, basically being derived by kinship or clan ties where the choices of cultural signs (language, religion, traditions) are made exactly to show this biological affinity. In this way, the myths of common biological ancestry that are a defining feature of ethnic communities are to be understood as representing actual biological history. A problem with this view on ethnicity is that it is more often than not the case that mythic origins of specific ethnic groups directly contradict the known biological history of an ethnic community. ** "''Geertz's primordialism''", notably espoused by anthropologist
Clifford Geertz Clifford James Geertz (; August 23, 1926 – October 30, 2006) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, s ...
, argues that humans in general attribute an overwhelming power to primordial human "givens" such as blood ties, language, territory, and cultural differences. In Geertz' opinion, ethnicity is not in itself primordial but humans perceive it as such because it is embedded in their experience of the world. * "''Perennialism''", an approach that is primarily concerned with nationhood but tends to see nations and ethnic communities as basically the same phenomenon holds that the nation, as a type of social and political organization, is of an immemorial or "perennial" character. Smith (1999) distinguishes two variants: "continuous perennialism", which claims that particular nations have existed for very long periods, and "recurrent perennialism", which focuses on the emergence, dissolution and reappearance of nations as a recurring aspect of human history. ** "''Perpetual perennialism''" holds that specific ethnic groups have existed continuously throughout history. ** "''Situational perennialism''" holds that nations and ethnic groups emerge, change and vanish through the course of history. This view holds that the concept of ethnicity is a tool used by political groups to manipulate resources such as wealth, power, territory or status in their particular groups' interests. Accordingly, ethnicity emerges when it is relevant as a means of furthering emergent collective interests and changes according to political changes in society. Examples of a perennialist interpretation of ethnicity are also found in Barth and Seidner who see ethnicity as ever-changing boundaries between groups of people established through ongoing social negotiation and interaction. ** "''Instrumentalist perennialism''", while seeing ethnicity primarily as a versatile tool that identified different ethnics groups and limits through time, explains ethnicity as a mechanism of
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the world (such as Object (philosophy), objects, ev ...
, meaning that ethnicity is the basis for a hierarchical arrangement of individuals. According to Donald Noel, a sociologist who developed a theory on the origin of ethnic stratification, ethnic stratification is a "system of stratification wherein some relatively fixed group membership (e.g., race, religion, or nationality) is utilized as a major criterion for assigning social positions". Ethnic stratification is one of many different types of social stratification, including stratification based on
socio-economic status Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family's economic access to resources and social position in relation to others. When analyzing a family's ...
, race, or
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...

gender
. According to Donald Noel, ethnic stratification will emerge only when specific ethnic groups are brought into contact with one another, and only when those groups are characterized by a high degree of ethnocentrism, competition, and differential power.
Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism in social science and anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo, past ...
is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture, and to downgrade all other groups outside one's own culture. Some sociologists, such as Lawrence Bobo and Vincent Hutchings, say the origin of ethnic stratification lies in individual dispositions of ethnic prejudice, which relates to the theory of ethnocentrism. Continuing with Noel's theory, some degree of differential power must be present for the emergence of ethnic stratification. In other words, an inequality of power among ethnic groups means "they are of such unequal power that one is able to impose its will upon another". In addition to differential power, a degree of competition structured along ethnic lines is a prerequisite to ethnic stratification as well. The different ethnic groups must be competing for some common goal, such as power or influence, or a material interest, such as wealth or territory. Lawrence Bobo and Vincent Hutchings propose that competition is driven by self-interest and hostility, and results in inevitable stratification and
conflict Conflict may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Conflict'' (1936 film), an American boxing film starring John Wayne * ''Conflict'' (1938 film), a French drama film directed by Léonide Moguy * ''Conflict'' (1945 film), ...
. * "''Constructivism''" sees both primordialist and perennialist views as basically flawed, and rejects the notion of ethnicity as a basic human condition. It holds that ethnic groups are only products of human social interaction, maintained only in so far as they are maintained as valid social constructs in societies. ** "''Modernist constructivism''" correlates the emergence of ethnicity with the movement towards
nation state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (news ...
s beginning in the early modern period. Proponents of this theory, such as
Eric Hobsbawm Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (; 9 June 1917 – 1 October 2012) was a British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership Private property is a legal designation for ...

Eric Hobsbawm
, argue that ethnicity and notions of ethnic pride, such as nationalism, are purely modern inventions, appearing only in the modern period of world history. They hold that prior to this ethnic homogeneity was not considered an ideal or necessary factor in the forging of large-scale societies. Ethnicity is an important means by which people may identify with a larger group. Many social scientists, such as
anthropologistsAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposab ...
Fredrik Barth Thomas Fredrik Weybye Barth (22 December 1928 – 24 January 2016) was a Norwegian social anthropologist who published several ethnographic Ethnography (from Greek ''ethnos'' "folk, people, nation" and ''grapho'' "I write") is a branch ...

Fredrik Barth
and
Eric Wolf Eric Robert Wolf (February 1, 1923 – March 6, 1999) was an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
, 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.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 The process that results in emergence of such identification is called ethnogenesis. Members of an ethnic group, on the whole, claim cultural continuities over time, although
historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the stu ...
s and
cultural anthropologists Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
have documented that many of the values, practices, and norms that imply continuity with the past are of relatively recent invention. Ethnic groups can form a
cultural mosaic Multi-lingual sign outside the Serbian,_ mayor's_office_in_Novi_Sad,_written_in_the_four_official_languages_of_the_city:_Serbian_language">Serbian,_Hungarian_language">Hungarian,_Slovak_language.html" ;"title="Hungarian_language.html" ;"title="Ser ...
in a society. That could be in a city like
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
or
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
, but also the fallen monarchy of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exer ...

Austro-Hungarian Empire
or the
USA The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and a ...

USA
. Current topics are in particular social and cultural differentiation, multilingualism, competing identity offers, multiple cultural identities and the formation of
Salad bowl A salad bowl is a bowl-shaped serving dish used to serve salads, especially tossed salads. Materials Salad bowls may be made of any of the usual materials used for tableware, including ceramic A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, ...
and
melting pot The melting pot is a monocultural metaphor for a heterogeneous Homogeneity and heterogeneity are concepts often used in the sciences and statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, int ...

melting pot
. Ethnic groups differ from other social groups, such as
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
s,
interest group Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy include ...
s or
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
es, because they emerge and change over historical periods (centuries) in a process known as ethnogenesis, a period of several generations of
endogamy Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of un ...
resulting in common ancestry (which is then sometimes cast in terms of a
mythological Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as gods, demigods, and other supernatural figures ...
narrative of a Eponymous ancestor, 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.''The Invention of Tradition''Smith 1987 pp. 21–22


Ethnicity theory in the United States

''Ethnicity theory'' argues that race is a social category and is only one of several factors in determining ethnicity. Other criteria include "religion, language, 'customs', nationality, and political identification". This theory was put forward by sociologist Robert E. Park in the 1920s. It is based on the notion of "culture". This theory was preceded by more than 100 years during which essentialism, biological essentialism was the dominant paradigm on race. Biological essentialism is the belief that some races, specifically white Europeans in western versions of the paradigm, are biologically superior and other races, specifically non-white races in western debates, are inherently inferior. This view arose as a way to justify enslavement of African Americans and genocide of Native Americans in a society that was officially 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 creations of races (polygenesis) and whether God had created lesser races. Many of the foremost scientists of the time took up the idea of racial difference and found that white Europeans were superior. The ethnicity theory was based on the assimilation model. Park outlined four steps to assimilation: contact, conflict, accommodation, and assimilation. Instead of attributing the marginalized status of people of color in the United States to their inherent biological inferiority, he attributed it to their failure to assimilate into American culture. They could become equal if they abandoned their inferior cultures. Michael Omi and Howard Winant's theory of racial formation directly confronts both the premises and the practices of ethnicity theory. They argue in ''Racial Formation in the United States'' that the ethnicity theory was exclusively based on the immigration patterns of the white population and did take into account the unique experiences of non-whites in the United States. While Park's theory identified different stages in the immigration processcontact, conflict, struggle, and as the last and best response, assimilationit did so only for white communities. The ethnicity paradigm neglected the ways in which race can complicate a community's interactions with social and political structures, especially upon contact. Assimilationshedding the particular qualities of a native culture for the purpose of blending in with a host culturedid not work for some groups as a response to racism and discrimination, though it did for others. Once the legal barriers to achieving equality had been dismantled, the problem of racism became the sole responsibility of already disadvantaged communities. It was assumed that if a Black or Latino community was not "making it" by the standards that had been set by whites, it was because that community did not hold the right values or beliefs, or were stubbornly resisting dominant norms because they did not want to fit in. Omi and Winant's critique of ethnicity theory explains how looking to cultural defect as the source of inequality ignores the "concrete sociopolitical dynamics within which racial phenomena operate in the U.S." It prevents critical examination of the structural components of racism and encourages a "benign neglect" of social inequality.


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 and Benedict Anderson 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 A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
, developed in the context of European colonial expansion, when mercantilism and capitalism were promoting global movements of populations at the same time Sovereign state, 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 who 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. Under these conditionswhen people moved from one state to another, or one state conquered or colonized peoples beyond its national boundariesethnic 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 minority, 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 in the 17th century and even more so in 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) 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. 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. 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

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 similarities among 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 concepts of race and ethnicity cannot be used as separate and autonomous categories. 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. 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.), said: 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 people from different parts of the world have been incorporated into a global economy: According to Wolf, racial categories were constructed and incorporated during the period of mercantilism, European mercantile expansion, and ethnic groupings during the period of capitalism, capitalist expansion. Writing in 1977 about the usage of the term "ethnic" in the ordinary language of Great Britain and the United States, Wallman noted In the U.S., the Office of Management and Budget, OMB says 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".


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 (philosopher), 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 Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the ...
, 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 acquiring only 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 ethnic war, 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 Languages of Africa, language (or
dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of phenomena: * One usage refers to a of a that is a characteristic of a particular group of ...
of a language) and
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

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 people, Akan, deriving from Bonoman (11th century) then the Hobyo Sultanate (17th century).


Asia

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. In Indonesia alone, there are more than Ethnic groups in Indonesia, 1,300 ethnic groups recognized by the government, which are located on 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago Russia has more than 185 Ethnic groups in Russia, recognized ethnic groups besides the eighty percent Russians, ethnic Russian majority. The largest group is the Tatars, 3.8 percent. Many of the smaller groups are found in the Asian part of Russia (see Indigenous peoples of Siberia).


Europe

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 minority, 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. A number of European countries, including France and Switzerland, do not collect information on the ethnicity of their resident population. An example of a largely nomadic ethnic group in Europe is the Romani people, Roma, pejoratively known as Gypsies. They originated from India and speak the Romani language. The Serbian province of Vojvodina is recognizable for its Multinational state, multi-ethnic and Multiculturalism, multi-cultural identity. There are some 26 ethnic groups in the province, and six languages are in official use by the provincial administration.


North America

The indigenous people in North America are Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native Americans. During European colonization, Europeans arrived in North America. Native Americans died due to Spanish diseases and other European diseases such as smallpox during the European colonization of the Americas. The largest ethnic group in the United States is White Americans. Hispanic and Latino Americans (Mexican Americans in particular) and Asian Americans have immigrated to the United States recently. In Mexico, most Mexicans are mestizo, a mixture of Spaniards, Spanish and Native American ancestry. African slaves were brought to North America from the 16th to 19th centuries. In the United States, their descendants are called African Americans.


South America

In South America, most people are mixed-race (mostly mulatto and mestizo), indigenous and European (especially of Spanish or Portuguese ancestry).


Oceania


Australia

The first evident ethnic group to live in Australia were the Australian Aboriginals, a group considered related to the Torres Strait Islander people. Europeans, primarily from England arrived first in 1770. The 2016 Census shows England and New Zealand are the next most common countries of birth after Australia, the proportion of people born in China and India has increased since 2011 (from 6.0 per cent to 8.3 per cent, and 5.6 per cent to 7.4 per cent, respectively). The proportion of people identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin increased from 2.5 per cent of the Australian population in 2011 to 2.8 per cent in 2016.


Pacific islands


See also

* Ancestor * Clan * Diaspora * Ethnic cleansing * Ethnic flag * Ethnic nationalism * Ethnic penalty *
Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism in social science and anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo, past ...
* Ethnocultural empathy * Ethnogenesis * Ethnocide * Ethnographic group * Genealogy * Genetic genealogy * Homeland * Human Genome Diversity Project * Identity politics * Ingroups and outgroups * Intersectionality * Kinship * List of contemporary ethnic groups * List of indigenous peoples * Meta-ethnicity * Minority group * Multiculturalism * Nation * National symbol * Passing (sociology) * Polyethnicity * Population genetics * Race (human categorization) * Race and ethnicity in censuses * Race and ethnicity in the United States Census * Race and health * Segmentary lineage * Stateless nation * Tribe * Y-chromosome haplogroups in populations of the world


References


Further reading

* Arash Abizadeh, Abizadeh, Arash
"Ethnicity, Race, and a Possible Humanity"
''World Order'', 33.1 (2001): 23–34. (Article that explores the social construction of ethnicity and race.) * Barth, Fredrik (ed). ''Ethnic groups and boundaries. The social organization of culture difference'', Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1969 * Beard, David and Kenneth Gloag. 2005. Musicology, The Key Concepts. London and New York: Routledge. * Billinger, Michael S. (2007)
"Another Look at Ethnicity as a Biological Concept: Moving Anthropology Beyond the Race Concept"
''Critique of Anthropology'' 27, 1:5–35. * Craig, Gary, et al., eds. ''Understanding 'race'and ethnicity: theory, history, policy, practice'' (Policy Press, 2012) * Danver, Steven L. ''Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues'' (2012) * Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (1993) ''Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives'', London: Pluto Press * Eysenck, H.J., ''Race, Education and Intelligence'' (London: Temple Smith, 1971) () * Healey, Joseph F., and Eileen O'Brien. ''Race, ethnicity, gender, and class: The sociology of group conflict and change'' (Sage Publications, 2014) * Hartmann, Douglas. "Notes on Midnight Basketball and the Cultural Politics of Recreation, Race and At-Risk Urban Youth", ''Journal of Sport and Social Issues''. 25 (2001): 339–366. * Eric Hobsbawm, Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, editors, ''The Invention of Tradition''. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). * * Kappeler, Andreas. ''The Russian empire: A multi-ethnic history'' (Routledge, 2014) * Levinson, David, ''Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook'', Greenwood Publishing Group (1998), . * Magocsi, Paul Robert, ed. ''Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples'' (1999) * Merriam, A.P. 1959. "African Music", in R. Bascom and, M.J. Herskovits (eds), Continuity and Change in African Cultures, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. * Morales-Díaz, Enrique; Gabriel Aquino; & Michael Sletcher, "Ethnicity", in Michael Sletcher, ed., ''New England'', (Westport, CT, 2004). * * Seeger, A. 1987. Why Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. * Seidner, Stanley S. Ethnicity, ''Language, and Power from a Psycholinguistic Perspective''. (Bruxelles: Centre de recherche sur le pluralinguisme1982). * Sider, Gerald, ''Lumbee Indian Histories'' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). * * Smith, Anthony D. (1998). ''Nationalism and modernism. A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism''. London; New York: Routledge. * * Thernstrom, Stephan A. ed. ''Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups'' (1981) * U.S. Census Bureau]
State & County QuickFacts: Race


External links

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Ethnicity

American Psychological Association's Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs
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Ethnic Power Relations (EPR) Atlas
' {{DEFAULTSORT:Ethnic Group Ethnic groups, Ethnicity, Majority–minority relations Multiracial affairs 1930s neologisms