Ethnicity Ethnic Groups Essay Research Paper

Ethnicity / Ethnic Groups Essay, Research Paper

Ethnicity- the identification of individuals with particular

ethnic groups Ethnic groups are usually limited to minorities; groups that

are smaller than the dominant group in their society. The

composition of an ethnic group, different life-styles or

different levels of income or education may distinguish

individuals within the same ethnic group from one another. Ethnic groups- groups whose members share cultural traditions

and values and a common language, and who distinguish themselves

from other groups (Barth). And are seen by others as different.

Often wear clothes as a symbol of difference, but are integrated

into the wider community. Ethnic groups share common cultural norms, values, identities,

patterns of behaviour, and language. Their members recognise

themselves as a separate group and are so recognised by others.

They may / may not be politicised. Ethnic identity may be seen as

based on "primordial" sentiment; i.e. sentiments

which are seen as going back to ancient times and which tie group

members to one another emotionally despite persistent attempts to

assimilate them. Sometimes the distinction between ethnic groups involves more

than cultural differences. Race and racial classifications are

involved when physical appearance is also a basis for making

distinctions individuals or groups. Though many people tend to

think of? a "race" as a scientific concept based on

biological systems of classification, it is in reality a cultural

construct whose definition and form differ from society to

society. For example, in Brazil, colour of complexion is but one

element in the conceptualisation of status and group, while in

the southern part of the United States an individual was

categorised as white or African-American on the basis of

complexion colour alone. Religion may be one of the factors which serve to distinguish

one ethnic group from another. When the occurs, the ethnic

conflict is heightened and intensified. Each side finds support

in the moral authority of its own religion for continuing the

conflict and its violent action against those whom it

characterises as infidels or heretics. Ethnic differences may

also be class differences. In some societies, the underclass is a

separate ethnic or racial group, and ethnic conflict may be

explained as class conflict. In other approaches, ethnic identification is seen as

completely situational. In Europe, ethnic groups were often also

territorially defined and wanted political autonomy. Sometimes the distinction between ethnic groups involves more

than cultural differences. Racial classifications, religion and

class may be factors. So ethnic conflict may be based on any of

these. There may be many ethnic groups in one country or even in one

city; e.g. Madagascar, which has some 18 different ethnic groups.

(Polyethnic- made up of different ethnic groups).

In such societies, ethnicity is a means of social classification.

People use it to anticipate, to evaluate- and sometimes to try

and understand the behaviour of others.

Unfortunately, ethnicity can attract discrimination against

members of ethnic groups, especially for urban ethnic

minorities.? The concept of ethnicity has proven useful to

domestic government agencies and international organisations

trying to assist ethnic minorities in polyethnic societies to

advance themselves. Rather than treating the inhabitants of a

developing country as culturally homogenous, for instance, most

international aid agencies now try to take into account the

values, institutions, and customs of various ethnic groups,

targeting relief or aid to their particular needs.


? Ways people show that they are proud of their ethnic


- Behaving in a distinctive manner

- Living near one another

- Attending special functions

- Performing traditional rituals

- Wearing distinctive clothing

? The Korean community of New Malden

- There are about 24,000 South Koreans in Britain, of whom 20,000

live in London and Surrey.

- There are signs of burgeoning Korean enterprise everywhere in

New Malden: Korean restaurants, travel agents, supermarkets,

opticians, hairdressers- even a Korean college where Koreans at

British schools can keep up with the Korean curriculum.

- There is a growing tendency for the Koreans to find London, and

in particular New Malden, so attractive that they decide never to

return home, mostly because of the high quality of the


- Emigration restrictions were only eased in 1989, partly as a

result of the Seoul Olympics the previous year. Since then, the

number of Koreans in London has soared. They like it because

it"s "a free country".

- Integration is not so easy. Korean students who come to London

to improve their English can find that they spend three hours a

day doing a course at Oxford Circus, speaking a small amount of

broken English to other foreigners- but never get to know any

English people.

- There are about 30 Korean Protestant Churches in London, one

Korean RC church, and one Korean Buddhist Temple, as well as

Korean Saturday schools in Chessington and North Ealing. The Jewish community of Stamford Hill

- The men are instantly recognisable from their beards, black

hats and long, black coats.

- These Jewish groups seem to create self-imposed ghettos and

seek to maintain the kind of life which existed in the shetl of

Eastern Europe. They speak Yiddish as well as English, and

religious duties and practice are at the centre of their


- The children are educated at private schools, of which at least

25 are scattered across Stamford Hill. These are named after

towns and rabbinical dynasties in Poland, Russia, Romania and

Hungary. Boys and girls are educated separately.

- Many members of the community have 10 or 12 children and it is

estimated that, including children, it now numbers 16,000 in

Stamford Hill with all its members living within walking distance

of their small, informal synagogues, where they pray three times

a day.

- They look on children as blessings. God will provide. What is

special about this community is its commitment to the religious

way of life, not letting go of a way of life which has existed

for over 3,000 years.

- They do not allow the children to have the influence of the

television and the media.










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