September 29, 2021

Ethnicity and Structure


  • Ethnic boundary practices
  • Ethnic boundaries as structures
  • Assignment 1

Ethnic Boundaries

Ethnic Boundaries

social boundaries (Tilly, Wimmer)

1. categories for people and category rules

  • “labels” and “definitions” (Chandra)

2. real-world practices that use those categories

  • what we “do” with those labels
    • in thought and speech;
    • in action/in shaping our material world

Ethnic Boundary Practices

Ethnic Boundaries: Institutions

institutional use: the use of ethnic/racial categories by formal institutions to label people (not necessarily in a discriminatory manner)

  • examples: census forms, school forms, voting rules, government social service records

institutional separation: the presence of distinct formal institutions for people labelled as members of different ethnic/racial categories (not necessarily unequal)

  • examples: churches/houses of worship, stores, schools, private associations, voting constituencies, governments, political parties, newspapers

Ethnic Boundaries: Institutional Use