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Ethnic Identity-Greek Antiquity_1

Ethnic Identity-Greek Antiquity_1 - ETHNIC IDENTITY IN...

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E T H N I C I D E N T I T Y I N G R E E K A N T I Q U I T Y A B r i e f S u m m a r y o f J . H a l l ’ s M a i n P o i n t s b y E . K o n d r a t i e f f 1 INTRODUCTION: HALL’s Thesis: • Ethnic Groups were NOT ultimately biological (racial), linguistic, religious, or cultural groups; these symbols of ethnicity only bolster an identity constructed in spoken or written discourse. • They were social groups whose origins in extraneous territories were just as often imagined as they were real. • H. adopts an anthropological point of view, examining evidence from: Literature, Archaeology, and Linguistics. • Emphasizes active, constructive and dynamic role of Ethnography, Genealogy, Material Culture and Language in shaping Ethnic Consciousness. HALL’s Goal: • To better define the role which Archaeology and Language play in the study of Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity. Quotes: On Archaeology : “While material symbols can certainly be selected as active emblems of a consciously proclaimed ethnic identity, it is a mistake to assume that material culture patterning can serve as an objec- tive or passive indication of ethnic groups.” (p.3) On Linguistics : “... a close analysis of dialect reveals that linguistic boundaries are NOT entirely coter- minous with ethnic boundaries, that the Greeks themselves could not have relied on linguistic clues only in assigning dialect-speakers to ethnic groups [as w/Lydian soldier speaking Boiotian in the Anabasis; or the return of Athenians from slavery speaking a “foreign tongue”], and that linguistic development in Greece may operate independently of ethnic factors. Again . . . linguistic symbols may be actively em- ployed at certain times as part of an ethnic strategy . . . some . . . ethnic groups consciously sought to bol- ster their distinctiveness through the medium of language.” (p.3) CHAPTER 1: History of the study of ethnicity – Discussion of Curtius, Mueller, Fustel de Coulanges, Edouard Will, etc. CHAPTER 2: The nature and expression of ethnicity: an anthropological view – Excerpts Primordialists: Ethnicity is an extension of kinship and the normal vehicle through which common goals might be pursued [i.e., Ethnicity has a determinist role; a role in forming/shaping/directing economic forces anciently] Instrumentalists: Ethnic Groups exploit symbol of shared, ancestral association to mask their real pur- pose: pursuit of political or economic interests (“Ethnicity serves purposes other than the cultural goals which its spokesmen proclaim to be its raison d’être.) They see ethnicity as a fairly recent phenomenon. Note: Threatened/oppressed “ethnic” groups are most likely to take a primordialist view (e.g., Hutu from Chad) while outside observers (e.g., anthropologists) or non-threatened/dominant groups (e.g., Tutsi) tend more to the instrumentalist viewpoint.
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