Ethnicity Construction Essay

552 words - 3 pages

The Construction of Ethnicity and Race

In this essay, I will discuss the constructionist approach to ethnic and racial identities, and why it is necessary to adequately and comprehensively understand them.
The formation of ethnic and racial group identity is not a static process. As Cornell and Hartmann states, “there is nothing absolute about the process or the end product”1. The constructionist approach “focuses on the ways ethnic and racial identities are built, rebuilt, and sometimes dismantled over time”2, placing “interactions between circumstances and groups at the heart of these processes.”3
That is to say, c is
According to Cornell and Hartmann, constructionism accepts and builds upon the central tenants of circumstantialism. In “A Constructionist Approach (2007)” the authors employ the concept of comprehensiveness to assess the role a racial or ethnical ...view middle of the document...

Constructionalism addresses one of the flaws of the circumstantialist approach; namely, that group identity and interests are determined chiefly by external forces and conditions. Constructionism, on the other hand, returns agency to the racial and ethnical actors, and grants insight into the extent to which racial and ethnical identities are asserted or assigned at a given period of time.
Constructionalism also asserts that the construction of racial and ethnical identity involves the marking of boundaries and the assignment of meaning. Regardless of whether an Identity’s construction is asserted or assigned, a set of criteria or markers, such as skin color, place of birth etc., is necessary to distinguish members from non-members. In addition, meaning is either asserted or assigned to how a group views/feels about both itself and non-members, and vice versa. In “The Organization of Ethnicity”, Handelman details a typology of degrees of ethnic incorperation5; from the least incorporated “ethnic category”, contrastive in nature, serving primarily to orient and legitimize membership, to the most incorporated, “the ethnic community”.

reflect the change in circumstance and how the experience by the groups that carry them, and how they react and

The constructionist approach is one that asserts that race and ethnicity are social constructs that relate to individuals and groups. As such, the

In “A Constructionist Approach”,

In the social sciences, several different approaches have been taken in attempt to understand racial and ethnic identity.
This is particularly true in regards to conceptions of ethnicity and race. These group labels are universal and profoundly affect the organization of society, and yet, outside the social science, they tend to be understood simplistically and left unexamined.
In this paper I will discuss the “constructionist approach” to racial and ethnic identities, and why it is essential to a comprehensive understanding of what they constitute.
The constructionist

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