O ETNICKÝCH SKUPINÁCH – A BEZ ETNICITY. K PŮLSTOLETÉMU VÝROČÍ VYDÁNÍ ETHNIC GROUPS AND BOUNDARIES
On ethnic groups – and (yet) without ethnicity. On occasion of the 50th anniversary of Ethnic Groups and Boundaries
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On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of publishing Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference, a work edited by Fredrik Barth, the author reflects on the reasons and causes of the renown and impact of the book that is today generally considered a key text in ethnic studies, be it in the anthropological or broader social-scientific discourse. As a starting point for the re-evaluation the author takes a period view on the book, i.e. considers the context of the time when it was written and published. In some cases the period contextualization leads to quite unexpected findings. First of all, there is a kind of paradox, since in the book, considered essential in the study of ethnicity, F. Barth does not use the term “ethnicity” a single time. At the same time the author shows that in many cases period authors did not consider the book to represent a watershed in ethnic studies. Moreover, as is further shown, the reception of the book was – especially in North America – quite delayed and only very slow. In other words, contemporary responses to the book are not in accordance with the canonical narrative of its influence and impact. So, if we insist on the key position of Ethnic Groups and Boundaries in ethnic studies, at least some of the explanations thereof need to be revised; and perhaps some new ones need to be found, too. A 50th Anniversary is an exceptionally suitable time for this enterprise.
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