A Combinatorial Language for Thinking about Ethnic Identity Change

Kanchan Chandra, Cilanne Boulet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter shows that an ethnic identity category as defined above can be reformulated as a combination of elements from a fixed set. Based on this simple reformulation, it proposes a new combinatorial framework for thinking about ethnic identity and ethnic identity change. This framework builds on one key property of ethnic identities: the shortterm fixedness of the descent-based attributes that constitute ethnic identities. This allows us to express an ethnic identity category as a combination of elements from a fixed set and therefore to translate the mechanisms by which ethnic identities change into the language of combinatorial mathematics. This framework makes it possible for the first time to describe the complexity of a constructivist world, with its large identity repertoires, in multiple dimensions, that differ across individuals and populations, in a way that is amenable to theory building.

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

Keywords

  • Attribute
  • Category
  • Coinciding
  • Combination
  • Cross-cutting
  • Dimension
  • Nested
  • Recombination
  • Repertoire
  • Value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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