Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and Explorations

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9780803976771: Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and Explorations
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Richard Jenkins reassesses the concept of ethnicity by examining critically, developing and expanding the anthropological model. He situates power relations and social categorization alongside group formation as necessary and interrelated aspects of the process of ethnic identification. He points out as a major weakness of established views the failure to take serious account of the local, cultural content of ethnic identity.

While ethnicity - as a social construct - is imagined, its effects are far from imaginary. Specific examples support the theoretical discussion to demonstrate the social mechanisms that construct ethnicity and the consequences upon people's experience. The discussion also encompasses: the `myth' of a plural society and postmodern notions of difference; the relationship between ethnicity, `race' and nationalism; language, violence and religion; and the everyday social construction of national identity.

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Review:

`This book is a wide-ranging theoretical treatise which draws upon sociological and anthropological thinking in an attempt to provide a general analytical framework for understanding ethnic, racial and

national sentiment. It is to Richard Jenkin's considerable credit that in many respects he has succeeded in this difficult task, producing a book which will be useful not only as a teaching text but also as a marker for current academic thinking in the field' - The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

`The book achieves its objectives. Careful, intellectual and provoking, the analysis has a freshness that pushes the conceptual debate forward and raises new research questions.... The focused coherence of this book and its clarity should, as is claimed, make it recommended reading.' British Journal of Sociology

`Rethinking Ethnicity consists of two parts. The first discusses theoretical issues and the second explores some theoretical concepts and issues such as `majority ethnicity' on the basis of specific empirical cases concerning Britain, especially Wales and Ireland, and Denmark. The author starts from a broadly defined, anthropological concept of ethnicity - a`collective identification that is socially constructed with reference to putative cultural similarity and difference'. Though working within the anthropological tradition, Jenkins blames anthropologists for having directed their research too exclusively at ethnic groups as self-denied groups, in this way neglecting the related issuesof categorization by others, power relations and racism.

This is a well-written, concise and original contribution to the study of ethnicity and it is an excellent book to be recommended to everybody who wants to rethink' ethnicity and its relation to race and nation' - Royal Institute of International Affairs

About the Author:

Richard Jenkins is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield. His previous publications include: Racism and Recruitment (Cambridge University Press, 1986); Pierre Bourdieu (Routledge, 1992); and Social Identity (Routledge, 1996).

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9780803976788: Rethinking Ethnicity: Arguments and Explorations

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ISBN 10:  080397678X ISBN 13:  9780803976788
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd, 1997
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