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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fenton's Ethnicity Notes Chapter 1

First how they define certain words:

1. Race - A group of persons connected by common descent or origin, a tribe, nation or people regarded as of common stock.

2. Nation - An extensive aggregate of persons so closely associated w/ each other by common descent, language or history as to form a distinct race of people.

3. Ethnic - Pertaining to nations not Christians, pertaining to a race or a nation; having common racial, cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics especially designating a racial or other group within a larger system.

Ethnic -> Race & Nation

Let's look at the etymological (the origin & development of a word) history of the word, "RACE"

1600s - nation or tribe of people regarded as "Common Stock"
late 18th/early 19th century: Race to mean "One of the great subdivisions of mankind."

19th/20th century: Science of classifying mankind into physically defined races which were widely believed to be the basis of differences in ability & temperament in a global racial hieracrchy.

1950's: Race was in retreat (preview of ethnic being born)

Let's review the Etymological & historical use of the word:

Race referred ethnic, nation, & common ground

Ethnic -> nations of cultural character, language, difference, foreignness.

Later Race & ethnic became interchangeable.

Race Thinking (by the Nazis)

1. Possible to classify the whole of humankind into a relatively small number of reaces defined primarily by physical and visible differences.
2. Races share appearance, temperament, ability & moral qualities. (Perhaps this is where stereotyping was born???)
3. "Racial Inheritance" physical & moral qualities of the race were preserved through racial descent.
4. Races were hieracrchically ordered with something referred to as the white race being superior to others.

ONE NOTE: Ethnicity does not equal CULTURE

So the evolution of RACE
19th century was subdivision of mankind, then in the late 19th/early 20th century it was used as a scientific classification of mankind.

Race, Racism, Nations, Nationalism

Nations/National = product of modernism

Anhony Smith in his book "The Ethnic Origin of Nations" (1986):

Nationalism extends the scope of ethnic community from purely cultural and social to economic and political spheres; from predominately private to public sectors. To make any real headway in the MODERN world, ethnic movements must stake their claims in political and economic terms as well as cultural ones, and evolve economic and political programmes...Even dominant ethnic groups must turn a latent, private sense of ethnicity into a public manifest one, if only to ensure the national loyalty of their members against the claims of other groups...Nationalism has endowed ethnicity with a wholly new self-consciousness and legitimacy as well as a fighting spirit and political direction. (Smith 1981, pp. 19-20)

Defining the core and the divergences:

Race refers to the descent & culture communities with two specific additions:

1. The idea that 'local' groups are instances of abstractly conceived divisions of humankind, and
2. the idea that races makes explicit referenes to physical or 'visible' difference as the primary marker of difference and inequality.

Nation refers to the descent and culture communities with one specific addition:

The assumption that nations are or should be associated with a state or state-like political form.

Ethnic group referes to descent & culture communities with three specific additions:

1. that the group is a kind of sub-set within a nation-state.
2. that the point of reference of difference is typically culture rather than physical appearance, and
3. often that the group referred to is 'other' (foreign, exotic, minority) to some majority who are presumed not to be 'ethnic'

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