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II. 7.3.1 The concept of ethnicity

The term ethnicity is difficult to describe and its meaning has changed over time and individuals may be identified or self-identify to ethnicities in complex, even contradictory, ways.

Ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture—the practices, values, and beliefs of a group. This includes shared language, religion, and traditions, among other commonalities.

An ethnic group is a collection of people whose members identify with each other through a common cultural heritage, consisting of a common culture which may also include a shared language or dialect. The group’s ethos or ideology may also stress common ancestry, religion, or race.

The process that results in the emergence of an ethnicity is known as ethnogenesis.

Ethnicity is a concept referring to a shared culture and a way of life. This can be reflected in language, religion, material culture such as clothing and cuisine, and cultural products such as music and art. It is based on a shared common culture, including elements like language, religion, art, music, and literature, and norms, customs, practices, and history. An ethnic group does not exist simply because of the common national or cultural origins of the group, however. They develop because of their unique historical and social experiences, which become the basis for the group’s ethnic identity.

The world is home to thousands of ethnic groups, from the Han Chinese—the largest ethnic group in the world—to the smallest indigenous groups, some of which include only a few dozen people. Almost all of these groups possess a shared history, language, religion, and culture, which provide group members with a common identity.

Ethnicity, continues to be an identification method that individuals and institutions use today—whether through the census, affirmative action initiatives, non-discrimination laws, or simply in personal day-to-day relations.

The idea of ethnicity is rather simple. In its most common form, ethnicity is the priority of the ethnic consciousness of the individual or society over other means and forms of social and individual consciousness. In this case, ethnicity is the dominant qualitative positioning of the whole social space through ethnic categories and values. Ethnic consciousness is the consciousness that occurs when all events that occur in the world; when historical, political, socio-economic, cultural processes, rights, and interests; when actions of individuals and society are considered mainly from the perspective of one’s ethnic affiliation or that of the ruling elite.

Ethnos (from the Ancient Greek, meaning nation; tribe; crowd; group of people; class of people; tribe of a different country; pagan; herd; family) is a term that is widely used for indicating various nations and ethnic communities.

Ethnos was a basic element of the social organization of society. In primitive civilization, ethnos took the form of tribe; in slave-owning and feudal times, it took the form of nationality; under capitalism and socialism, it took the form of the nation.

Ethnicity is often a major source of social cohesion as well as social conflict. It is worse when ethnicity directly leads to confrontation and struggle for power by various groups, which are consolidated along ethnic lines. Leaders who are given to reacting in ethnic terms, especially the marginal sector of the intelligentisa, have a hard time engaging in dialogue. They have an even harder time finding a common language with representatives of another ethnic  community. For them, rather than engaging in interethnic discourse or dialogue, it is easier to mobilize a group for a propaganda struggle or even military action or deepening a conflict. This is how conflicts arise.


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