Ethnicity is a multidimensional concept that involves both objective and subjective dimensions of people's sense of belonging to a community. At its most basic level, an ethnic group can be defined as a community of people who identify with each other and who are recognized by others on the basis of a presumed common genealogy, ancestry, or heritage. Ethnic groups are typically characterized by cultural, linguistic, and religious practices and behaviors that are shared among their members and that distinguish their members from those of other groups. Thus ethnic group membership often serves as a meaningful basis of self-definition, as well as an influence on one's experiences and relationships with members of other ethnic groups. This entry defines the term ethnicity and discusses how it ...

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