In the realm of social science methodology and race studies, there is a short list of concepts that would appear to be as simple, and even as necessary as the idea of a group. The concept of the group is one that has relevance in a multi-disciplinary framework as it is a core concept for political studies, sociology, anthropology, demography and social psychology. The concept of the group is a fundamental aspect of the study of how people mobilize politically, cultural identity, economic interests, collective action, social class, gender, religion, race, and so on. Despite the fact that the notion of the group seems to be an indisputable fact in the methodology of social sciences, it has been a concept that has come without appropriate scrutiny, there is little to no literature on the subject, and unlike other like terms and concepts like class, identity and race, it is rarely questioned alone, as its only investigation relates to the way it applies to other concepts.
[...] Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Brubaker, R. (2004). Ethnicity Without Groups. In Facing Ethnic Conflicts, ed. Wimmer, A., Goldstone, R., Horowitz., Joras, U. and Schetter, C. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. DiMaggio, P. and Powell, W. (1991). Introduction. In The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, ed. DiMaggio, P. and [...]
[...] The idea of an ethnic group is good enough for most people in their discussions of ethnicity and ethnic conflict within the realm of social sciences. However, the examination of groupism, as has taken place in this paper, is important for many reasons. It uncovers the misuse of the concept of group, insofar as it is used to cover what is really going on, and that is conflict arranged by individuals under the guise of the group. (Mueller, 2000). Also, it highlights the importance of organizations in ethnic conflict, and it prompts us to remember that organizations are often well- versed in using ethnic rhetoric to advance their own agenda. [...]
[...] What happens when we focus on the category and not the group is, the clarification of the varied ways that ethnicity, race and nationhood can exist and work without the need for considerable entities known as ethnic groups. It allows us to see ethnicity without resorting to the concept of groups. (Brubaker, 2004). When we succeed at treating groupness as a variable, and determine the differences between groups and categories, we can understand the dynamics of group making as a social, cultural and political project which serves to transform categories into groups or mounting levels of groupness. [...]
[...] Given all of the progress that has been made in the field and study of the social sciences, it is surprising how the concept of the group has come without much investigation. After all, social analysis has long been questioning the treatment of groups in a social context. Many other aspects within the field of social sciences have been rigorously questioned, but not the concept of groupism, or at least not to the degree that the others have. Ethnic groups within the social world are continually thought of as distinct entities, which imply that what is within these entitities is homogenous. [...]
[...] This leaves a final point that needs to be addressed, and that is the idea of ethnicity as cognition. Ethnicity, race and nationhood are a product of nothing more than our perceptions, interpretations, categorizations, and identifications. They are not things, but rather perspectives. It is a matter of how people see the world. They are also a product of the socialized knowledge that people hold in the backgrounds of their lives. Cognitive perspectives that are understood in a broad sense can provide a worthwhile perspective on constructivist research on ethnicity, race and nationhood. [...]
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