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Chapter 8-Ethnicity and Race-The Social Construction of Difference Nov 26 2008

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University of Toronto St. George
Sheldon Ungar

Reading Notes 11-26-08 New Society: Chapter 8- Race and Ethnic Relations Ethnicity and Race: The Social Construction of Difference N Ascribed characteristics: we assume that we are born with a certain race or ethnicity that cannot be changed N Achieved Status: statuses that are acquired by virtue of social definition Ethnicity and Race N Ethnicity N Objective Definition- Ethnicity09K3L.J74:580[L89-0.,:80415045O0884.L,O,99,.K20398 o Ethnicity is something people possess because of differences in language, culture, customs, national origin, ancestry N Subjective Definition- Ethnicity ethnic identification o Socially constructed nature perceived reality insist that ethnicity is a transactional process (ethnic identities and boundaries are situational, variable, flexible) Race N Is a socially constructed label that has been used to describe certain kinds of physical differences between people N Ex: skin colour, hair texture, body, facial shape etc Racism N The belief that humans are subdivided into distinct hereditary groups that are innately different in their social behaviour and mental capacities and that can therefore be ranked as superior or inferior N New Racism: Barker- a theory of human nature that suggests that it is natural for groups to form bounded communities- one group is neither better nor worse than another, but feelings of antagonism will be aroused if outsiders are admitted N Institutional Racism: discriminatory practices built into such prominent structures as the political, economic, education systems N Systematic Discrimination: institutions sometimes unintentionally restrict the life chances of certain groups through a variety of seemingly neutral rules, regulations, procedures N Ex: height and weight requirements for jobs with police force, fire department Theories of Race and Ethnic Relations Social Psychology N Prejudice: unfavourable, generalized, rigid belief applied to all members of a group N Frustration-Aggression: prejudice as a forms of hostility that arise from frustration o Ppl who are frustrated in their efforts to achieve a desired goal-respond with aggression Primordialism N Primordialist Thesis: ethnic and racial attachments reflect an innate tendency for people to seek out and associate with others who are similar in terms of language, culture, beliefs, ancestry, appearance N Discrimination: practices that deny members of particular groups equal access to societal rewards Normative Theories N Prejudices are transmitted through socialization and the social circumstances that compel discriminatory behaviour
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