Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Ethnicity, Overview

  • Joshua Phelps
  • Marjan Nadim
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_376


Ethnicity has become a key but contested analytical concept used to distinguish human groups in the wider social sciences and everyday life. It tends to refer to the classification of people and boundaries between groups that are based on shared ideas or myths of a common origin, descent, and history. Ethnicity is often associated with minority (cultural, racial, religious) groups that are different than a majority, especially in everyday speech. However, it has become increasingly used to describe majority (e.g., ethnic Dutch or ethnic Norwegian) as well as minority members (e.g., immigrants) in contemporary multicultural societies.

Ethnicity is also, importantly, a relational concept about demarcations and involves the construction of similarities and differences between two or more groups in social interaction. An ethnic group is thus always defined in relation to some other group(s). This process involves how both members and nonmembers recognize (cultural)...

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Online Resources

  1. Center for World Indigenous Studies. http://cwis.org/
  2. Migration Information Source. http://www.migrationinformation.org/
  3. Migration Policy Institute. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/
  4. National Association for Ethnic Studies. http://ethnicstudies.org/
  5. Nordic Journal of Migration research (open access). http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/njmr
  6. Sage web resources for Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class. http://www.sagepub.com/healeyregc6e/study/resources.htm

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Police University CollegeOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchOsloNorway