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Ethnicity and Race

Ethnicity and Race
Making Identities in a Changing World

Second Edition

December 2006 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This book is very well written and clearly organized throughout. It is pitched at upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level race and ethnicity sum, this is an important book, highly recommended to students and faculty alike. The authors draw extensively from classic and contemporary sociological theory throughout the text and maintain a transnational focus in each and every chapter." —TEACHING SOCIOLOGY

"I used Cornell's earlier edition for years and consider it to be one of the best explanations/ examinations of race and ethnic relations around."Margot Kempers, Fitchburg State College

Ethnicity and Race: Making Identities in a Changing World, Second Edition uses examples and extended case studies from all over the world to craft a compelling, even-handed account of the power and persistence of ethnicity and race in the contemporary world. Known for its conceptual clarity, world-historical scope, and fair-minded treatment of these oft controversial topics, this updated and expanded edition retains all of the core elements and constructionist insights of the original.

New to the Second Edition:

  • Provides new concrete examples from around the world: Dozens of new examples have been added, including extended case studies of ethnic/identity construction in the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, and New Zealand. In addition, several new sections discuss treatments of neo-assimilation and segmented assimilation, and the invisibility of racial dominance.
  • Incorporates the latest research and thinking in the field: Motivated by the suburban uprisings of 2005, an extended case study of race, culture, and belonging in contemporary France is fashioned. The theoretical underpinnings of this unique synthesis of race and ethnicity are sharpened throughout the volume, and the authors incorporate some of their own recent work on ethnic and racial analytic frames to sketch out broader implications for the field and possibilities for the future.
  • Discusses the emergence of modernity and globalization: The authors demonstrate why ethnic and racial boundaries over the last 30 years and contrary to earlier, optimistic predictions have become stronger and more strident under the pressures of modernization, mass communication, and secularization. The book concludes by discussing how the downward spiral of hate and separateness can be halted, and even reversed.

Intended Audience:
This influential text is ideal for advanced undergraduate courses on race and ethnicity such as American Race Relations; Racial and Ethnic Relations; Ethnic Conflict; Comparative Race Relations; Cultural Diversity; Immigration Studies in the departments of Sociology, Ethnic Studies, Global Studies, and Anthropology.

About the Authors
Preface to the 2nd Edition
1. The Puzzles Of Ethnicity And Race
An Unexpected Persistence and Power

A Puzzling Diversity of Forms

Ethnicity and Race as Sociological Topics

An Outline of What Follows

2. Mapping the Terrain: Definitions
The Definition of Ethnicity

The Definition of Race

Ethnicity and Race

Nationalism and Belonging


3. Fixed or Fluid? Alternative Views of Ethnicity and Race
The Assimilationist Assumption



Primordialism and Circumstantialism Compared


4. A Constructionist Approach
The Construction of Ethnic and Racial Identities

The Nature of Ethnic and Racial Bonds

The Reconstruction of Circumstances

The Logic of Ethnic and Racial Construction

Reframing Intergroup Relations


5. Case Studies in Identity Construction
Case 1. The Power of Circumstances: Blacks and Indians in the United States

Case 2. Between Assertion and Assignment: Chinese Americans in Mississippi

Case 3. From Thick Ethnicity to Thin: German Americans

Case 4. Constructed Primordiality and Ethnic Power: Afrikaners in South Africa

Case 5. From Thin Ethnicity to Thick: Basketball and War in the Former Yugoslavia

Case 6. Race, Culture, and Belonging: Who Is France?

A Comparison of Cases


Chapter 6. Construction Sites: Contextual Factors in the Making of Identities
Critical Sites


Labor Markets

Residential Space

Social Institutions


Daily Experience

Summarizing Contextual Factors


Chapter 7. What They Bring: Group Factors in the Making of Identities
Preexisting Identities

Population Size

Internal Differentiation

Social Capital

Human Capital

Symbolic Repertoires

Groups, Contexts, and Agendas


Chapter 8. Making Sense and Making Selves in a Changing World
The Impact of Modernity

Mixing and Multiplicity

Separation and Consolidation

Making Sense, Making Selves, Making Others



"This book is very well written and clearly organized throughout.  It is pitched at upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level race and ethnicity sum, this is an important book, highly recommended to students and faculty alike.  The authors draw extensively from classic and contemporary sociological theory throughout the text and maintain a transnational focus in each and every chapter."  —TEACHING SOCIOLOGY

Mirelle Cohen
Olympic College
Teaching Sociology

This is a comprehensive text that is most fitting for graduate level students.

Dr JoAnna Boudreaux
Communication Dept, University Of Memphis
June 24, 2023

This offers useful material for thinking about race and ethnicity.

Dr Sonya Sharma
Criminology and Sociology, Kingston University
April 10, 2014

Good overview of introductory concepts and theories

Professor Melanie Gast
Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, University of Notre Dame
November 30, 2011

Seems to be a well-rounded introduction to the topic of race and ethnicity

Ms Susanne Auer
Humanities and Social Science, Oglala Lakota College
April 20, 2011

Content and material is appropriate for graduate level course on multiculturalism as a supplemental or main text. This book can also be used for a social stratification course in sociology department.

Ms La Shawn Bacon
Counselor Ed and Supn, University of Iowa
December 14, 2009
Key features
Feature – Social Constructionist perspective throughout.  
Benefit – Illustrates how ethnic and racial identities come into being, and the social processes by which they are reproduced and transformed, fostering critical thinking.   

Feature – Updated Case Studies in Chapter 5  
Benefit – Provides concrete examples of the theoretical and historical framework of race and ethnicity developed in chapters 1-4.  

Feature – Global and Comparative Focus paying particular attention to ways that dynamics of ethnicity and race are linked with historical and global forces.  
Benefit – Avoids the parochialism that often limits the American vision of ethnicity and race

Feature - Detailed and thoughtful dissection of identity
Benefit - Students find their theoretical arguments and empirical examples very useful in bringing this somewhat nebulous concept "down to earth."

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