By Wilbur Zelinsky
Within the Enigma of Ethnicity Wilbur Zelinsky attracts upon greater than part a century of exploring the cultural and social geography of an ever-changing North the US to turn into either biographer and critic of the hot notion of ethnicity. during this formidable and encyclopedic paintings, he examines ethnicity's de?nition, evolution, signi?cance, implications, and entanglements with different phenomena in addition to the mysteries of ethnic identification and function. Zelinsky starts by means of interpreting the ways that “ethnic teams” and “ethnicity” were de?ned; his personal de?nitions then turn into the root for the remainder of his examine. He subsequent specializes in the recommendations of heterolocalism—the threat that an ethnic group can exist with no being bodily merged—and own identity—the quite contemporary concept that you can concoct one's personal identification. In his ?nal bankruptcy, that is additionally his so much provocative, he concentrates at the multifaceted phenomenon of multiculturalism and its dating to ethnicity. all through he incorporates a shut examine African american citizens, Hispanics, and Jews in addition to such less-studied teams as suburbanized eastern, Cubans in Washington, Koreans, Lithuanian immigrants in Chicago, Estonians in New Jersey, Danish american citizens in Seattle, and Finns. average, nonpolemical, and simple, Zelinsky's textual content is beneficial for readers in need of an in-depth review of the literature on ethnicity within the usa in addition to a well-thought-out figuring out of the meanings and dynamics of ethnic teams, ethnicity, and multiculturalism.
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Extra info for The Enigma of Ethnicity: Another American Dilemma
We could reduce ethnic groups to the trivial case of populations conﬁned to a single village or small cluster of villages, situations where every person comes into face-to-face contact with everyone else on a fairly regular basis. But such a contraction would eliminate all the more populous entities, those “imagined communities,” to use Benedict Anderson’s (1983) felicitous term, whose ranks number anywhere from the tens of thousands up to the many millions. In such grander agglomerations, direct personal interaction is limited to a small fraction of one’s putative community even over the course of a long lifetime.
The undercounting of ethnic and racial minorities, especially in the inner city, despite zealous exertions by the bureau, remains a persistent, worrisome problem with obvious political and social implications (Whitford 1993). Especially troublesome has been the understandable reluctance to be tallied on the part of illegal, undocumented immigrants or sojourners (including many Europeans and Asians, in addition to the higher-proﬁle Latin Americans), despite the bureau’s ironclad pledge of conﬁdentiality.
By this point any alert reader should be willing to entertain the notion that many contemporary ethnic groups are indeed social artifacts, the products of the internal actions and beliefs of their members and/or the external pressures and decisions on the part of the larger community (K. N. Conzen et al. 1990). But I have been working my way toward an even bolder generalization: that all ethnic groups, without exception, are socially constructed and — a closely related thesis — that they are all of recent origin.