September 20, 2021
recall our definition…
ethnic identity categories are those in which membership is determined by:
From this perspective, ethnicity is “constructed” but cannot be invented out of nothing, nor infinitely changeable…
\(1.\) change in the repertoire of descent-based attributes
what descent-based attributes are seen as “relevant” in defining ethnic membership
\(2.\) change in the “full” repertoire of “nominal” ethnic identity categories
\(3.\) change in the repertoire of “operative” ethnic identity categories;
\(4.\) change in individual descent-based attributes:
\(5.\) change in the ethnic identity categories activated from the repertoire.
Explanations for ethnic change
On your own
With 2-3 neighbors, discuss:
Many scholars attempt to understand ethnic politics by taking the choice of ethnic identity from a repertoire as a strategic/intrumental choice.
Posner (2005) formalizes/generalizes these arguments:
|Language (1)||Language (2)||Language (3)|
nested cleavage: when multiple dimensions of ethnic identities are organized such that membership in a smaller group implies membership in a specific larger group
|Religion (1)||Religion (2)||Religion (3)|
crosscutting cleavage: when multiple dimensions of ethnic identities are organized such that membership in a group along one dimension does not imply membership in one specific group along the other dimension
Posner says, assume that…
People ethnicity to form minimum winning coalition
Result of this process may vary depending on the size of groups, nature of cleavage structure (nested, cross-cutting), argues there is underlying rational process driving ethnic identification.
How does this logic resonate with your own decisions about which ethnic identity categories you use in everyday life?