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Ethnic Boundary Making – Institutions, Power, Networks - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Ethnic Boundary Making: Institutions, Power, Networks

Andreas Wimmer


The book introduces a new theory that overcomes essentializing approaches to ethnicity all the while avoiding the pitfalls of excessive constructivism. It suggests understanding ethnic/racial boundaries as the outcome of a negotiation process between actors who pursue different boundary making strategies, depending on institutional incentives, their position within power hierarchies, and their pre-existing networks of alliances. This theory contrast with mainstream approaches in the social sciences, where ethnic groups are often treated as self-evident units of observation and ethnic culture a ... More

Keywords: ethnicity, race, immigration, boundary making, cultural theory, social networks, primordialism, essentialism, constructivism, social categories, symbolic boundaries

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199927371
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199927371.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andreas Wimmer, author
Princeton University