Category: Book Report

Introduction

In their book The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex discuss a great variety of topics in fields like sociology, international relations, interracial relationships, and politics. The book consists 33 chapters in total. The book also provides readers with necessary information on the “ethnicity” term and how it is being used. A geographic territory they live on, race, nationality and language they speak provide the main mental and physical characteristics of each person. Every culture has its unique attitudes, including stereotypes, beliefs (moral, religious, political and ideological), knowledge and values (theoretical and empirical), opinions and suggestions. Ethnical differences, racism, and other types of discrimination became a serious issue in the modern word due to globalization processes that have a great influence on the society. A lot of new nations appeared in result of colonization, and some of these new nations could not assimilate among the existing society.

Body

The term “ethnicity” became extremely vital in the social sciences in the 1960s.This period was marked by the consolidation of the process of colonization in Africa and Asia, and creation of new nation states. “Anti-racist” and “anti-colonial” movements became widespread; in addition the term “ethnicity” was used by the sociologists who worked in the social sciences field.

After new nation states have appeared on a world map, the diversity in race and nationality in those brought such negative aspects as nationalism and racism. In general, the process of colonization began because some more developed countries wanted to get access to free labor and natural resources. During the colonization of Africa and Asia, many nations that inhabited these territories for centuries were discriminated because of their origin. Still, people from colonies wanted to be independent, and while in some countries the independence could be achieved in the peaceful way, in others military action and revolution took place. Some of the colonies created stable and reliable government after they gained independence; others were ruled by dictators or struggled from long civil wars. There are countries that chose to maintain good relationships with their past colonies, and those that continued to oppress the colonized territories. Decolonization resulted in conflicts between superpowers and influenced international relations a lot. Because some countries had natural resources or occupied strategic locations, there was a need to maintain good relationships with other countries, which had lack of these. The United Nations organization was created to promote peace and reduce complexity in international relations.

Max Weber was the first sociologist who took ethnicity and nationalism seriously as a sociological concept. His ideas of the historical constitution of ethnic groups and his focus on ethnic groups as political communities are of the great importance for the today's society (Guibernau and Rex, 2010). A geographic territory they live on, race, nationality and language they speak constitute the main mental and physical characteristics of each person. Each culture has its unique attitudes, including stereotypes, beliefs (moral, religious, political and ideological), knowledge and values (theoretical and empirical), opinions and suggestions. Symbols define the ideas of people and the behaviors represent a variety of roles, norms, traditions, practices, stereotypes, customs and fashions. Cultural aspects that influence human behavior also include such important elements as “nationality”, “race”, “society”, and ethnicity”; however, each of these has its own characteristics and they are different from one another. The difference is that race, for example, is defined as a group of people with similar physical characteristics. In addition, it can be defined as social category. Race is a very important element of individual's identification. Ethnicity is usually defined as a cultural heritage of people, the experience of past generations such as language, religion, traditions and geographic territory they have inhabited. Researchers state that the relationships between these psychologies have a lot of similarities; they, therefore, study cultural effects on individuals. If to observe behavior of people who inhabit each region, we come to the conclusion that there exist individual differences among those.

A group of people who share the same geographic origin, language and history are referred to as also sharing one “nationality.” The last element is religion, which represents certain beliefs of people. All these elements are included in cultural psychology. Nationalism is a term that refers to such behavior as self-determinism according to the particular nationality. Nationalism is widespread among nations without states, such as Quebec, Catalonia, or Scotland, where the larger states they are a part of do not want to recognize their multinational character. If in some countries different nations leave in peace, others practice “ethnic cleansing” - a movement against selected strangers, which contributed dramatically to development of nazism and fascism (Guibernau and Rex, 2010).

In the second part of the book the authors focus the topics of ethnicity, migration, and multiculturalism. Some of the theoretical issues are covered in John Rexes discussion of “the concept of a multicultural society.” He suggests that the theory of ethnicity is vital to address the problems raised by the notion of primordial ethnicity, on the one hand, and those of “instrumental” or “situational” ethnicity on the other (Guibernau and Rex , 2010). Multiculturalism is an important aspect of the today's world due to the growing process of globalization. People migrate to different countries and organize their own communities. In a host country, people often have a different mentality and language, so it can be hard to understand them. In addition, there are differences in traditions which make it even more complicated. In the second part of the book, the authors claim that ethnicity can be used as a basis for bonding in a group and in the process of migration it may also be used to unite members of a group in their migration aspirations. Moreover, the migration process continues its path as the globalization processes becomes more widespread. Such term as multiculturalism became extremely significant, especially in big cities, where the migrants usually choose to move to. Multiculturalism has its pros and cons. Many people share a view that the globalization process and development of multiculturalism have more disadvantages than advantages. People of different race or nationality can share their experience and knowledge with other people, bring something new to the society, such as cuisine or some new ways of entertainment. The main disadvantages are the misunderstandings that arise among different nations or people of different races, often due to living on one territory. Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration such term as “mentality” while discussing multiculturalism, because it is one of the primary causes of all conflicts.

Conclusion

To sum up, the book The Ethnicity Reader: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Migration by Montserrat Guibernau and John Rex is a good piece of literature that all people should read. The authors discuss a great variety of topics in sociology, international relations, interracial relations, and politics. The authors discuss the term “ethnicity” and its meaning in the contemporary world. Max Weber was the first sociologist who took ethnicity and nationalism seriously as a sociological concept. His ideas of the historical constitution of ethnic groups and his focus on ethnic groups as political communities are of the great importance for the today's society (Guibernau and Rex, 2010). They also talk about the issue of nationalism and the reasons of migration that causes multiculturalism. In the second part of the book the authors focus on the topics of ethnicity, migration, and multiculturalism. Some of the theoretical issues are covered in John Rexes discussion of “the concept of a multicultural society”, he suggests that the theory of ethnicity is vital in addressing the problems raised by the notion of primordial ethnicity, on the one hand, and those of “instrumental” or “situational” ethnicity on the other (Guibernau and Rex , 2010). Such diversity often results in negative consequences, when a group of people of one nationality or race can be linked to antagonism towards the members of a different race or nationality. The book is divided into two parts; in the first part, the authors talk mainly about the issues surrounding ethnic and national origins of people, and in the second part the authors talk about ethnicity, multiculturalism and migration.

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