What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter proposes a definition of ethnic identity that captures the conventional classification of ethnic identities to a greater degree than the alternatives. The goal of proposing this definition is to create a conceptual foundation for causal theorizing about ethnic identity. Ethnic identities, according to this definition, are a subset of categories in which descent-based attributes are necessary for membership. All categories based on descent-based attributes, according to this definition, are not ethnic identity categories. But all ethnic identities require some descent-based attributes for membership. The innovation in this definition compared to the alternatives is in a subtle but consequential change in the specification of the role of descent, contained in the distinction between "attribute" and "category," and in the minimalist position that ethnic identities are defined only by the descent-based attributes required for membership and not by additional features such as a common culture, a common language, a common history and a common territory. The chapter uses this definition to identify properties that can reasonably be associated with ethnic identity and those that cannot. It argues, by evaluating previous causal claims against this conceptual foundation, that most are not reasonable even when evaluated on their own terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199980079
ISBN (Print)9780199893157
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

Fingerprint

ethnic identity
innovation
history
language

Keywords

  • Ancestry
  • Attribute
  • Category
  • Causal theories
  • Culture
  • Definition
  • Descent
  • Ethnicity
  • Identity
  • Language
  • Region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Chandra, K. (2013). What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition. In Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002

What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition. / Chandra, Kanchan.

Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Chandra, K 2013, What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition. in Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002
Chandra K. What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition. In Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Oxford University Press. 2013 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002
Chandra, Kanchan. / What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition. Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Oxford University Press, 2013.
@inbook{83eb9125035f43028c12b1baca86bd33,
title = "What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition",
abstract = "This chapter proposes a definition of ethnic identity that captures the conventional classification of ethnic identities to a greater degree than the alternatives. The goal of proposing this definition is to create a conceptual foundation for causal theorizing about ethnic identity. Ethnic identities, according to this definition, are a subset of categories in which descent-based attributes are necessary for membership. All categories based on descent-based attributes, according to this definition, are not ethnic identity categories. But all ethnic identities require some descent-based attributes for membership. The innovation in this definition compared to the alternatives is in a subtle but consequential change in the specification of the role of descent, contained in the distinction between {"}attribute{"} and {"}category,{"} and in the minimalist position that ethnic identities are defined only by the descent-based attributes required for membership and not by additional features such as a common culture, a common language, a common history and a common territory. The chapter uses this definition to identify properties that can reasonably be associated with ethnic identity and those that cannot. It argues, by evaluating previous causal claims against this conceptual foundation, that most are not reasonable even when evaluated on their own terms.",
keywords = "Ancestry, Attribute, Category, Causal theories, Culture, Definition, Descent, Ethnicity, Identity, Language, Region",
author = "Kanchan Chandra",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "24",
doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780199893157",
booktitle = "Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
address = "United Kingdom",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - What Is Ethnic Identity? A Minimalist Definition

AU - Chandra, Kanchan

PY - 2013/1/24

Y1 - 2013/1/24

N2 - This chapter proposes a definition of ethnic identity that captures the conventional classification of ethnic identities to a greater degree than the alternatives. The goal of proposing this definition is to create a conceptual foundation for causal theorizing about ethnic identity. Ethnic identities, according to this definition, are a subset of categories in which descent-based attributes are necessary for membership. All categories based on descent-based attributes, according to this definition, are not ethnic identity categories. But all ethnic identities require some descent-based attributes for membership. The innovation in this definition compared to the alternatives is in a subtle but consequential change in the specification of the role of descent, contained in the distinction between "attribute" and "category," and in the minimalist position that ethnic identities are defined only by the descent-based attributes required for membership and not by additional features such as a common culture, a common language, a common history and a common territory. The chapter uses this definition to identify properties that can reasonably be associated with ethnic identity and those that cannot. It argues, by evaluating previous causal claims against this conceptual foundation, that most are not reasonable even when evaluated on their own terms.

AB - This chapter proposes a definition of ethnic identity that captures the conventional classification of ethnic identities to a greater degree than the alternatives. The goal of proposing this definition is to create a conceptual foundation for causal theorizing about ethnic identity. Ethnic identities, according to this definition, are a subset of categories in which descent-based attributes are necessary for membership. All categories based on descent-based attributes, according to this definition, are not ethnic identity categories. But all ethnic identities require some descent-based attributes for membership. The innovation in this definition compared to the alternatives is in a subtle but consequential change in the specification of the role of descent, contained in the distinction between "attribute" and "category," and in the minimalist position that ethnic identities are defined only by the descent-based attributes required for membership and not by additional features such as a common culture, a common language, a common history and a common territory. The chapter uses this definition to identify properties that can reasonably be associated with ethnic identity and those that cannot. It argues, by evaluating previous causal claims against this conceptual foundation, that most are not reasonable even when evaluated on their own terms.

KW - Ancestry

KW - Attribute

KW - Category

KW - Causal theories

KW - Culture

KW - Definition

KW - Descent

KW - Ethnicity

KW - Identity

KW - Language

KW - Region

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84922186816&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84922186816&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002

DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199893157.003.0002

M3 - Chapter

AN - SCOPUS:84922186816

SN - 9780199893157

BT - Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics

PB - Oxford University Press

ER -