Race and Ethnicity: The Basics

Race and Ethnicity: The Basics

Race and Ethnicity: The Basics

Race and Ethnicity: The Basics

Synopsis

Race and ethnicity have shaped the social, cultural and political character of much of the world, and remain an important influence on contemporary life in the 21st Century. Race and Ethnicity: The Basics is an accessible introduction to these potent forces. Topics covered include: The forms and dynamics of racial and ethnic relations The dynamics of inequality The relationship between prejudice and discrimination Ethnic conflict Models of inclusion Including plenty of examples, chapter summaries and a glossary, this book is an essential read for all those interested in the contested field of race and ethnicity.

Excerpt

Race and ethnicity have, during the centuries since the advent of the modern nation-state and the era of colonialism, profoundly shaped the social, cultural, economic, and political character of much of the globe. This includes both the wealthy nations of the world and the poor ones. Contrary to the predictions of modernization theorists and Marxists, both of which foresaw a future in which race and ethnicity would decline in significance as a consequence of the evolution of capitalist industrialization or the more overarching impact of the totality of modern institutions and practices, the historical record clearly reveals that divisions based on race and ethnicity remain a salient feature of contemporary social life in the twenty-first century.

Indeed, to categorize people in everyday conversations along the lines of racial or ethnic group affiliations is commonplace. Thus, in the US to speak of African Americans or blacks is to lump approximately 12 percent of the nation’s population into one of the five prominently identified races in the nation. On the other hand, to speak about Swedish Americans or Italian Americans—equally commonplace—is to place millions of people into what are seen as the vast array of ethnic groups residing in the nation. A similar pattern can be seen in the UK, where the term “black” was used a few decades ago to describe the post-World War II immigrants coming largely from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent, in this case the term . . .

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