This chapter introduces a new conceptual vocabulary for thinking about ethnic identities as defined previously. The vocabulary is built on a distinction between "categories" and the "attributes" necessary for membership in them. In previous work, the term "identity" has often been used interchangeably for an "attribute" that signifies membership in a category but does not constitute it (e.g. dark skin), the "category" itself (e.g. African American), an "attribute-dimension," consisting of a "family" of attributevalues (e.g. the dimension of skin colour, on which values might include "dark" and "light"), or a "category-dimension" consisting of a "family" of categories (e.g. the dimension of race in the US, which has the categories of "Black," "White," and so on arrayed on it). This chapter shows why and how attributes and categories-and therefore attribute-dimensions and category-dimensions-are conceptually distinct, and what the stakes attached to this distinction are. Building on this distinction, it identifies two properties that can be intrinsically associated with ethnic identity categories -"constrained change" and "visibility"-and draws out the implications of these properties for building theories about the relationship between ethnic identity and political and economic processes and outcomes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|State||Published - Jan 24 2013|
- Constrained change
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)