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homework 1 - February 6, 2008 JUST 301, Section 9 Homework...

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February 6, 2008 JUST 301, Section 9 Homework Assignment 1 Question #1: When thinking about ethnicity and what exactly it is, the concepts of primordialism and constructivism are at the center of the discussion. Many scholars and anthropologists argue about whether ethnicity is something that you are born into or born with or if it is something that you inherit as you grow older. Erik Erikson says that it is somewhat of a combination of the two that provides the actual truth. As with most matters in the modern world, nothing is black and white. The primordialist theory is the theory that people’s ethnicities are what they are born with. The primordialists argue that ethnicity is largely a natural occurrence. Primordialists say that people are drawn to people who have similarities to them. They say that people tend to migrate towards others who share similar geographical areas, physical similarities, economic status, or possibly religious beliefs. For primordialists it is a genetic and psychological aspect that causes people to identify with a specific ethnic group. The constructivist theory is much different from the primordialist theory. The constructivists believe that ethnic identifications and conflicts come from an outside force causing people to identify with a certain ethnicity. Laitin says that: “People… are exposed to family, community, and national histories; they are brought up with a particular repertoire of languages and speech styles; they may be given training in certain religious rituals.”
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He is saying that on an individual scale, people change and develop who they are as a person while they grow up. He goes on to talk of the people of a larger society that identifies themselves with more than one ethnic group and identify most strongly with a particular ethnicity at a certain time when it is more beneficial to do so. The way I understood this was by thinking of my own life. When I am in my home city, I identify myself by what high school I went to. When I was at school, I identified myself by what activities I did or by what
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homework 1 - February 6, 2008 JUST 301, Section 9 Homework...

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