Ethnicity without Groups by Rogers Brubaker

By Rogers Brubaker

"Despite a quarter-century of constructivist theorizing within the social sciences and arts, ethnic teams remain conceived as entities and solid as actors. newshounds, policymakers, and researchers repeatedly body debts of ethnic, racial, and nationwide clash because the struggles of internally homogeneous, externally bounded ethnic teams, races, and countries. In doing so, they unwittingly undertake the language of members in such struggles, and give a contribution to the reification of ethnic groups.In this well timed and provocative quantity, Rogers Brubaker--well recognized for his paintings on immigration, citizenship, and nationalism--challenges this pervasive and common sense ""groupism."" yet he doesn't easily revert to plain constructivist tropes concerning the fluidity and multiplicity of identification. as soon as a bracing problem to traditional knowledge, constructivism has grown complacent, even cliched. That ethnicity is developed is usual; this quantity presents new insights into the way it is developed. through transferring the analytical concentration from identification to identifications, from teams as entities to group-making tasks, from shared tradition to categorization, from substance to procedure, Brubaker exhibits that ethnicity, race, and kingdom will not be issues on this planet yet views at the international: methods of seeing, studying, and representing the social world."

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Nor are stereotypes seen as the distinctive and pathological propensity of particular kinds of personalities (the "authoritarian personality" or "high-prejudice" individual, for example), but rather as rooted in normal and ubiquitous cognitive processes. There is no need to postulate special "needs"-for example the alleged need to feel superior to others-to explain stereotypes; they are more parsimoniously explained as an outgrowth of ordinary cognitive processes. On this understanding, which has antecedents in the work of Gordon Allport (1954), stereotypes are simply categories of social groups, and their structure and workings mirror those of categories in genera1.

12 This is a valid-and important-criticism of some strands of cognitive research. Yet it overstates the opposition by relying on a narrow understanding of cognitive research as premised on an "individualistic, mentalistic, computational, and culture-minimal" notion of mind and as seeking to reduce "all of psychological life, including discourse and social interaction, to the workings of cognitive, or even computational, mental processes" (Edwards 1997: 32, 19). As DiMaggio (1997) has pointed out, and as Edwards and Potter (1992: 14-15,21, 23) themselves acknowledge, there is much recent cognitive research that cannot be characterized in this way.

SS us to think in terms of bounded groupness. It does so because even constructivist thinking on identity takes the existence of identity as axiomatic. Identity is always already "there," as something that individuals and groups "have," even if the content of particular identities, and the boundaries that mark groups off from one another, are conceptualized as always in flux. " This tendency to objectify "identity" deprives us of analytical leverage and constricts political possibilities. It makes it more difficult for us to treat "groupness" and "boundedness" as emergent properties of particular structural or conjunctural settings rather than as always already there in some form.

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