What is ethnic identity and does it matter?

Kanchan Chandra

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    Abstract

    Since the publication of Horowitz's Ethnic Groups in Conflict, comparative political scientists have increasingly converged on their classification of ethnic identities. But there is no agreement on the definition that justifies this classification and the definitions that individual scholars propose do not match their classifications. I propose a definition that captures the conventional classification of ethnic identities in comparative political science to a greater degree than the alternatives. According to this definition, ethnic identities are a subset of identity categories in which membership is determined by attributes associated with, or believed to be associated with, descent (described here simply as descent-based attributes). I argue, on the basis of this definition, that ethnicity either does not matter or has not been shown to matter in explaining most outcomes to which it has been causally linked by comparative political scientists. These outcomes include violence, democratic stability, and patronage.

    LanguageEnglish (US)
    Pages397-424
    Number of pages28
    JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
    Volume9
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2006

    Fingerprint

    ethnic identity
    political scientist
    comparative political science
    clientelism
    ethnic group
    ethnicity
    violence

    Keywords

    • Culture
    • Democracy
    • Ethnicity
    • Patronage
    • Violence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    What is ethnic identity and does it matter? / Chandra, Kanchan.

    In: Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 9, 2006, p. 397-424.

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

    Chandra, Kanchan. / What is ethnic identity and does it matter?. In: Annual Review of Political Science. 2006 ; Vol. 9. pp. 397-424
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