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October 2021


According to anthropologists, ethnicity has numerous implications with respect to race, nation, class, etc.  In many ways it is also conceived as a fairly modern phenomenon.  According to Gregory Bateson, in the early twentieth century, many social theorists believed that ethnicity and nationalism would decrease in importance and eventually vanish as a result of modernization, industrialization, and individualism.  This never happened.  On the contrary, ethnicity and nationalism have grown in political importance in the world, particularly since the Second World War as a defense against globalization or to differentiate against onslaught of larger nation or ethnic group’s cultural homogenization.  A main insight from anthropological research has been that ethnic identities, instead of being radically opposed to modernity and the modern state, are frequently reactions to processes of modernization. What is ethnicity anyway?  It has to do with difference and it takes at least two to create a difference.  Although the…