Ethnicity is a dynamic, multidimensional concept, referring to the process of labeling oneself or others as belonging to specific ethnic groups. Whereas ethnicity refers to the classification process, ethnic groups are the outcome—the resulting groups to which individuals are assigned and with which they may identify. Definitions of ethnicity generally include two central components: a shared culture and a presumed common ancestry, though scholars differ in how broadly or narrowly they consider these components to be essential features of ethnicity. This entry begins by discussing definitions of ethnicity and the various ways in which ethnicity is construed, as well as how ethnicity relates to religion, “race,” and nationality. The entry then discusses theories of ethnicity, focusing on the basis of ethnic group formation. It ...

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