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Researching social and ethnic identity : A sceptical view

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This paper focuses on the relationship between the conceptual and methodological problems in the study of social and ethnic identity. The author argues that the theoretical and conceptual deficiencies in defining and understanding the notions of “identity” and “ethnic identity” are reflected in the quality and type of research strategies used to asses empirical claims to ethnic identity. The first part of the paper critically reviews and analyses the use of the concepts “identity” and “ethnic identity” in social science and the humanities. The author focuses in particular on the conceptual history and geography of “identity” stressing its cultural and historical exclusivity. The second part of the paper assesses how these conceptual, historical and cultural problems affect methodological and research strategies in the study of ethnic identity.
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Keywords: ethnic identity; identity; social identity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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