Ethnicity (Not Race) and Belonging

  • Amanda Kearney


Throughout this book, I have consciously adopted “ethnicity” rather than “race” as my methodology. By instating ethnicity as the primary criterion for difference, this discussion acknowledges a history of race debate and race discourse and deliberately moves away from it. While “race” as a concept is often still used in certain popular contexts, its problematics are too great to justify inclusion in this discussion. The choice to repudiate race as a category for analysis does, however, require explanation. Despite the concept losing its appeal some time ago in anthropological vernacular, diversity—as distinguished on such terms as self-declared status, origins, ancestry, and cultural expressions—is still explored and spoken of through a mixed discourse of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity. The persistence of race as a category for analysis remains somewhat puzzling, particularly in light of widespread critique of its use as a typology to classify human groups. In use since the 1800s, the meaning of “race” has changed over time, retaining a remarkable grip in mainstream vernacular and political rhetoric around the world until the mid-1900s. First held to denote lineages of human groups (Banton 1987), its central meaning was “a stock of descendants linked to a common ancestor” (Wade 2010: 5).


Ethnic Group Ethnic Identity Social Memory Ethnic Study Cultural Wounding 
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© Amanda Kearney 2014

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  • Amanda Kearney

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