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GROUP IDENTITIES: BAD SOCIAL SCIENCE? Feuchtwang, 1990; Gilroy 1992; Hall, 1992; Schierupp, 1992; Yuval-Davis, 1992; Al-Azmeh, 1993; Dirlik, 1994; Vertovec,

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Presentation on theme: "GROUP IDENTITIES: BAD SOCIAL SCIENCE? Feuchtwang, 1990; Gilroy 1992; Hall, 1992; Schierupp, 1992; Yuval-Davis, 1992; Al-Azmeh, 1993; Dirlik, 1994; Vertovec,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 GROUP IDENTITIES: BAD SOCIAL SCIENCE?

3 Feuchtwang, 1990; Gilroy 1992; Hall, 1992; Schierupp, 1992; Yuval-Davis, 1992; Al-Azmeh, 1993; Dirlik, 1994; Vertovec, 1995; Baumann, 1996; Brubaker, 2005

4 culture is not a real thing, but an abstract and purely analytical notion (Baumann, 1996: 11). ethnicity, race and nation are not things in the world but perspectives on the world; ways of seeing, interpreting and representing the social world(Brubaker, 2005: 17)

5 If we feel we have a unified identity… it is only because we construct a comforting story or narrative of the self about ourselves… The fully unified, completed, secure and coherent identity is a fantasy (Hall, 1992: 277).

6 Reification, homogenisation and essentialism are a characteristic of: - European official and political discourses of multiculturalism (Schierrup 199X, Ulf Hedetoft, Vertovec 1995 and Baumann 1996 and 1999) -some forms of black politics (Gilroy, 1992, 2000) - of Muslim political fundamentalism (Yuval- Davis, 1992 and Al-Azmeh 1993) - and of US racial discourses (Hollinger, 1995).

7 What Exists? 1. Groups can be real as well as individuals; and ethnicity has not a lower ontological status than class or gender. 2. Groupness does not presuppose essences; and so denial of essences does not mean denial of the existence of groups.

8 Who Essentialises? 3. We can know that there is a group, or talk about groups in practice, without being theoretically clear about what is a group. Hence the coherence of a group is neither a fiction nor an essence.

9 Multi-Dimensionality 4. It is true that we cannot understand group dynamics, group behaviour, group mobilisation etc simply by reference to internal factors – but nor simply by external factors. Emphasis should be on complexity, contingency, open-endness of social phenomena – and on emprical inquiry.

10 All Change? 5. There are new ethnicities, hybridity etc but there is also aspects of old ethnicity - in any case, some people value an identity with few salient features and they are not stupid to do so.

11 Muslim v British Muslim 37% British 3% British Muslim 54% Other 6% Source: Guardian/ICM June, 2002

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