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John Hutchinson and Edited by Anthony D. Smith

Publication Date - 26 December 1996

ISBN: 9780192892744

472 pages


Although the term "ethnicity" is recent, the sense of kinship, group solidarity, and common culture to which it refers is as old as the historical record. Ethnic communities have been present in every period and on every continent, and have played an important role in all societies. The sense of a common ethnicity remains a major focus of identification for individuals even today. Ethnic community and identity are also often associated with conflict, particularly with political struggles in various parts of the world. Yet there is no essential connection between ethnicity and conflict, and in many instances, relations may in fact be peaceful and cooperative.
This Oxford Reader offers explanations for the often contentious nature of ethnicity, its worldwide effects, and the possible means for overcoming conflicts. It includes extracts by all the major contributors to debates on ethnicity, including Weber, Brass, Hechter, and Horowitz, and focuses on ethnic groups in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and North America, as well as other areas.

About the Author(s)

Anthony D. Smith is Professor of Sociology at the LSE. John Hutchinson is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he teaches modern European history. Together they have edited the Oxford Reader on Nationalism (1994) which continues to be hugely successful.


"Ethnicity has become the major source of social and political conflict in both developing and developed societies. A subject as multifaceted and contentious as this merits the comprehensive and judicious coverage which this reader uniquely provides. Its appearance is most welcome." --Michael Hechter, author of Internal Colonization

"More than sixty readings cover a broad range of interpretations and data, while the succinct history of the concept of ethnicity provides a key to understanding its development. The authors' introductory essay is a model of concise definition and objective evaluation of diverse viewpoints...a firm framework that readers can use to make their own evaluations of the future of ethnicity." --John Armstrong, author of Nations before Nationalism

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