Defining our Terms: Bringing Rigour to Ethnic Studies

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Abstract

For decades, political scientists have grappled with the role identity has played in ethnic conflict. Surprisingly, these scholars have been unsuccessful in rigorously conceptualising some key terms in the field of ethnic studies. How can the causal forces of ethnic strife be unravelled if scholars cannot even agree on the meanings of essential concepts? This article carefully delineates the differences between ethnicity, ethnic groups and ethnic group identity, while showing the conceptual mistakes of some of the field's leading scholars. Often treated synonymously, these concepts are quite distinct: ignoring this not only makes for sloppy scholarship, but has grave policy consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalPolitics
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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