Relationship of Identity and ETHNICITY

Relationship of Identity and ETHNICITY

Race, or Ethnicity ?


A way of classifying people

Key physical factors – visible biological features: colour of skin, shape of face, structure of body/bones

Racism’ – the belief that some races are superior to others


Ethnicity is a broader term than race.

The term is used to categorise groups of people according to their cultural expression and identification

Common features such as racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin may be used to describe someone’s ethnicity

Ethnicity is the SHARED characteristics of social groups based on common cultural factors

NATIONALITY – not really the same

The LEGAL relationship between a person and a country

Involves having rights and responsibilities attached to being a citizen of a nation state

‘Nation states’ – states/countries defined by geography (boundaries), political and legal systems

Nationality = ‘an imagined community’ (Anderson) – we are born, live in and imagine we are ‘part’ of that country – we see this as our specific NATIONALITY

We may leave, if we wish, and apply for nationality/citizenship elsewhere – if they’ll have us

Is our nationality BRITISH? What does that actually mean?

Race and ethnicity are linked, but they’re not the same thing

Asian ethnic identities remain strongly influenced by –

Primary socialisation

Attitudes to marriage

Attitudes to family and family life

Attitudes to religion

Attitudes to language

African-Caribbean Identities

Skin colour can be important source of identity (Modood)

Peer group pressure can be an important source of identity. There is a strong link here to education (Sewell)

Significance of ‘hyper-male’ identities and lack of father figures in single-parent families (Sewell)

Significance of ‘street identities’ framed by advertising, media and ‘bling’ (Sewell)

Mixed-Race Identities

Rise of white/African Caribbean intermarriage

60% ‘pride’ in mixed-race heritage (Tizzard, Phoenix)

However – racism directed towards mixed-race children still evident (from both black and white)

Hybrid-dual identities

UK ethnic identity is evolving

Younger Asian identities – one for the family, one for society at large (Johal)

Asian ‘white mask’ theory – cultural differences used when necessary / advantageous

Young Asian identity ‘mixes’ of fashion, culture and music – when it suits the situation (Johal)

White European Identities

Impact of white Polish migrants to the UK

Distinction between old/new waves of Poles in the UK in terms of their identities

Older migrants – retained strong Polish identities

Newer migrants – identity based less on ethnicity, mostly based on individual consumer choices

Younger Poles – more ‘global’ outlook/identity (Bielewska)

All of this links to IDENTITY and NATIONALISM

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