Maintaining ethnic boundaries in “non-ethnic” contexts: constructivist theory and the sexual reproduction of diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

How can ethnic boundaries survive in contexts of legal racial equality and institutionalized ethnic mixing? Constructivist theories of ethnicity have long emphasized the fluidity, rather than the durability, of ethnic boundaries. But the fact that ethnic boundaries often endure—and even thrive—in putatively non-ethnic political contexts suggests the need for sustained attention to the problem of boundary persistence. Based on an ethnographic study of ethnic boundaries in the Turkish case, this article argues that the regulation of the domain of sexuality and marriage can play a critical role in reproducing boundaries when political institutions neither acknowledge nor aid in the survival of ethnic diversity. Ultimately, the data provide substantial evidence that the transmission and internalization of informal rules of inter-ethnic sexual conduct are central to boundary maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-64
Number of pages32
JournalTheory and Society
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Constructivism
  • Ethnic boundaries
  • Sexual relations
  • Social reproduction
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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