Ethnic Identity: Problems of Theoretic Determination Cover Image

Етнички идентитет: проблеми теоријског одређења
Ethnic Identity: Problems of Theoretic Determination

Author(s): Mladena Prelić
Subject(s): Recent History (1900 till today), Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Ethnic Minorities Studies
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: Ethnic identity; ethnic group;
Summary/Abstract: The notion of ethnic identity and the area of related problems have come into the focus of attention of cultural anthropology and of the other social sciences since the late 1960s. The paper proceeds from what is ussually referred to in science as the “Bart approach” to this problem . This term refers to a big change in the approach to ethnic phenomena which, during the 1970s, involved a shift of research focus from the static concept of ethnic group to a dynamic and historic concept of ethnic identity. The paper points to certain unresolved issues accompanying the theoretic determination of ethnic identity down to date notwithstanding the rapid ascent of this scientific notion and a multitude of empiric studies performed on the subject. Setting forth the latest lines of thought on ethnic identity in the contemporary literature, drawing primarily on the works of Joselin Strepf-Fenard and Phillipe Poutigna, the author observes that, for all the consensus reached on many aspects in the appreciation of this problem , there still exist some open issues, of which, perhaps, the most interesting is the “primordialistic” dilemma. It is made up of a situation w here the primordialistic concept of ethnic identity, in theoretic angle explicitely condemned and allegedly superseded by social constructivism, is not only alive and ubiquitous in the daily usage and understanding of this notion by common people who are the most frequent subject of ethnologic and anthropologic research, but is indeed quite often, albeit implicitely, present also in the views of research workers themselves. The author suggests that the duality of primordialism/constructivism should be overcome through perceiving ethnic identity as a “constructed primordialism ”. Ethnic identity, which may be defined as social identity characterized by metaphoric kinship, is understood in this paper as a socially constructed notion, but constructed in such a way as to appropriate primordialistties - in this case (although often ficticious and metaphoric) the ties of consanguinity. The author then gives a summary of her approach to this area of problems, as used in her research work, primarily in the case of the Serb national minority in Hungary.

  • Page Range: 275-285
  • Page Count: 11
  • Publication Year: 2003
  • Language: Serbian