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Population in the Human SciencesConcepts, Models, Evidence$
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Philip Kreager, Bruce Winney, Stanley Ulijaszek, and Cristian Capelli

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688203.001.0001

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Collective Identities, Shifting Population Membership, and Niche Construction Theory

Collective Identities, Shifting Population Membership, and Niche Construction Theory

implications from Taiwanese and Chinese empirical evidence

(p.331) Chapter 11 Collective Identities, Shifting Population Membership, and Niche Construction Theory
Population in the Human Sciences

Melissa J. Brown

Oxford University Press

That ethnic populations can change membership challenges a theoretical concept of population to explain such dynamics. Regime changes and mass migrations have expanded and contracted the historical membership of the ethnic Han majority in China and Taiwan, and even created new ethnic populations. Events that shape people’s social experience—their lived social interactions plus the political-economic and historic influences on those interactions—shape their collective identities. Although state manipulation of ethnic and national identity is sometimes successful, it can fail due to the social experience of discrimination and competing interests within governments. A modified niche construction theory suggests that causal processes in social inheritance are not unidirectional. Micro populations construct their social niche when individuals negotiate precedents that spread to cause macrostructural changes. However, these negotiations are subject to social and cultural selection pressures from normative role expectations and cultural beliefs, and to institutional and epistatic associations that causally modify outcomes.

Keywords:   population memberships, ethnic identity, niche construction, migration, social negotiation, causal processes, Taiwan, China

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