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.
- Ethnic boundaries
- Sexual relations
- Social reproduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science