Definition of Ethnicity: Types, Examples, and Ethnic Concepts

Definition of Ethnicity – In a growing diversity, the existence of ethnicity is certainly one aspect that is quite important. So that in the end it will become inseparable from diversity.

However, in general, ethnicity or tribe is defined as a social unit that can differentiate units based on the similarity of one’s regional origins. So these things can be classified according to the meaning of similar social groups based on group status or class.

Therefore, in this article we will examine more clearly and in detail the meaning of ethnicity, types, and examples.

Definition of Ethnicity

Ethnicity itself is also known as ethnicity which is a social unit that can be distinguished from other units based on deeply rooted cultural elements, especially with language which is one of the most important aspects of a culture. There is another perspective that views ethnicity as a group of people who are bound by awareness and also a collective identity that is reinforced by an understanding of national unity. In this case, the existence of ethnicity is determined by the importance of group awareness, a broad understanding of cultural unity and also closely related origin similarities.

Ethnicity is a social system of human classification based on a belief system that has been believed, implementation of existing values ​​in society, understanding of cultural diversity, strengthening of constructed customs, affirmation of norms, use of language, explanation of human historical background, region geography, as well as inseparable kinship relations. Then the definition according to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), the term ethnic or ethnic has a meaning as a social group of people who are in a social or cultural system that serves as a guideline. These social groups have certain roles and positions based on genetic factors, customs or traditions, religion, language systems, and others.

Definition of Ethnic According to Experts

Ethnicity is a series of similarities in origin which is one of the factors that can encourage connection within a bond. So that the types of ethnicity spread throughout the world include the following: Mayans, Persians, Amazons, Aborigines, Han, Gypsy, Greek.

The following are some definitions of ethnicity according to the views of experts, including:

a. Definition of Ethnicity According to Fredrik Brath

Ethnicity is a group of people who unite because of the similarity in meaning of race, national origin, religion, and a combination of these categories originating from a cultural system with highly upheld social values.

b. Understanding Ethnicity According to Hassan Shadily MA

Ethnicity is a group of people who are seen as having relatively dominating biological relationships. In addition, ethnicity also implies a social group that mixes and becomes a characteristic that distinguishes groups of people based on regional origins.

c. Understanding Ethnic According to Anthony Smith

Ethnicity is a group of people who mingle and interact with each other, which are classified based on their beliefs and religion, racial equality, traditions or customs, language, historical background similarities, and also the origin of the descendants of the same ancestors. So that these community groups can create a cultural system that is inherent and regulates the community groups included in it with the values ​​and social norms they adhere to.

Ethnic Types

The following are the types of ethnicity which are divided into 7, including namely:

1. The Mayans

The Mayans are a group of tribes who occupy the territory of the Yucatan peninsula, Central America, which borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Where the Mayans with all their developments can produce unique works and civilizations such as buildings in the form of Chichen Itza. Then in agriculture they created drainage canals, then planted corn and latex, and also built wells called cenotes.

2. Tribe of the Persian nation

The Persians are one of the tribes belonging to the Iranian nation, which uses Persian in their daily communication. The majority of these nations occupy the territory of Iran and also some others occupy territories in several other countries such as Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and several countries in the Middle East.

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3. The Amazons

The Amazons are one of the ethnic groups whose entire population is female. Beginning during the Classical Era in Greek mythology, according to Herodotus, the Amazons occupied an area on the Scythian border in Sarmatia, Ukraine. Other historians also argue that the Amazons also occupy Asia Minor, India, and Libya.

4. Aborigines

Aboriginal ethnicity is a group of people who live on the continent of Australia. Where they appeared in the 18th century or often known as the centuries of the arrival of white people. The population alone reaches 300,000 people. They live on the north and east coasts and also on the banks of the Murray River as well as in Tasmania. The Aborigines survive by hunting and gathering.

5. The Han people

The Han people live in China with a population of 91.59 percent of the population in all of China. Not only being the largest tribe in China, the Han tribe is also the tribe with the largest population in the world. Where this one tribe has approximately 4,000 years of historical records. The Han people are scattered throughout China. They usually use Hanyu in their daily communication.

6. The Gypsy Tribe

The Gypsy Tribe is one of the tribes that is classified as nomadic. Where they do not have a fixed place of residence or are always moving places of residence. This ethnic group has its own view of life which is unique and widespread in the Americas and the Middle East. The population of the Gypsy Tribe is estimated at more than 5 million people spread across the world.

7. Tribes of the Greeks

The Greek tribe is the name of the ethnic group that has lived in Greece since the 17th century BC until now. The population of this Greek tribe is found on the Greek peninsula in southeastern Europe, Cyprus and the Greek Islands.

Ethnic Example

The following are some examples that show an ethnicity, including:

1. Lineage

Membership in certain ethnic groups is basically determined by lineage. For example, the Batak tribe with lineage from the father or often referred to as patrilineal. This is different from the Minang tribe with a mother’s lineage which is usually referred to as matrilineal. In addition, ethnic classification can also be based on religion. For example, there is the term Ethnic Malay in Malaysia for natives who are predominantly Muslim. Meanwhile, the Serani ethnic group is Christian with the characteristics of the Portuguese breed like the Tugu people.

2. Mixed Ethnicity

What shows the existence of ethnic diversity is the existence of ethnic groups based on a mixture of races. For example, Peranakan people are a mix of Malay and Chinese ethnicity, Metis ethnicity which is a term for a mix of Hispanics and natives. Then the Mulato Ethnicity which is a blend of the Negroid Race and the Caucasoid Race, and others.

Ethnic Identity

Ethnic identities are individuals who have many identities associated with specific roles. One of these identities is related to their ethnic background which is considered as the essence of themselves. Thus, ethnic identity is a characteristic possessed by a group of people who are considered to be the essence of themselves.

This ethnic identity is actually a specific form of cultural identity. Where ethnic identity can be seen as a set of ideas about one ownership of ethnic group membership. This concerns several dimensions, including:

a. Self identification
b. Knowledge of ethnic culture starting from customs, traditions, values, and behavior
c. The feeling of belonging to a particular ethnic group.

Approach to Change of Ethnic Identity

There are several reasons why changes in ethnic identity in a group can occur, including:

1. Objective Approach (Psychological or Structural)

a. Basic assumption of natural science: There is ancestry that exists in social reality in human behavior. Look for general laws by explaining which variables cause or correlate with other variables.
b. This approach tends to be ethnocentric.
c. Objectivists claim that cultural markers such as race are closely related, though inseparable from, ethnicity.

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2. Subjective Approach (Phenomenology)

a. The subjective will see that ethnic identity emerges through cultural signs, they emphasize themselves, and feelings of identity related to the group and its recognition by others.
c. Ethnic identity as dynamic, situational, and fluid.

This deterministic approach has been criticized for being too simplistic, because the process of changing ethnic identity in ethnic groups is actually circular, interactional, and also dynamic, which involves conflicts within ethnic groups.

Models of Ethnic Identity Change

Basically, ethnic identity will emerge if two or more ethnic groups are interconnected. In the past, there have been various models of character as well as processes of transformation of ethnic identities, especially the acculturation model as well as the assimilation model which are sometimes interchanged. Assimilation tends to coincide with the loss of ethnicity, while cultural pluralism tends to highlight the continuity of ethnicity.

Generally, assimilation will refer to the extent to which a group that was originally distinctive has lost its subjective identity and has been absorbed into the social structure of another group. Indeed, acculturation is a prerequisite or at least goes hand in hand with assimilation because how can someone lose their distinctive feeling and be fully accepted in another group, unless they are fluent in the language and culture of the receiving group.

The concept of acculturation and also the concept of assimilation originated and developed in the United States. The difference between the two processes is that acculturation is a two-way process, while assimilation is a one-way process. Since the authoritative definition emerged, many experts put forward a definition of acculturation. Many definitions contain similar interpretations, namely that acculturation is a form of cultural change caused by cultural group contact, emphasizing the acceptance of new cultural patterns and characteristics of indigenous peoples by minority groups.

Ethnic or Ethnicity Concept

In studying inter-ethnic relations can be done by looking at the cases that occurred. Especially for ethnic groups who rarely experience conflict and survive the friction that occurs. The goal itself is to identify how they deal with any friction that occurs without conflict. According to Barth, ethnic groups can be called a cultural unit because ethnic groups themselves have an important main feature, namely the ability to share the same cultural characteristics. He also assumes that each ethnic group has its own cultural characteristics.

There are two main things that we can discuss in observing ethnic groups with the characteristics of these special cultural units, namely the formation of cultural units and also the factors that influence the formation of these cultural units. There are also several implications when viewing ethnic groups as cultural units, including:

a. The classification of certain individuals or groups declared as members of a particular ethnic group depends on their ability to show the cultural characteristics of that ethnic group.

b. Visible cultural forms will show ecological influences, but that does not mean that this shows that all of them are merely forms of adaptation to the environment.

However, it is more correct to say that these cultural forms are the result of adjustments by members of ethnic groups when dealing with various external factors. For example, when an ecological environment group varies, it will show different behavior according to the area where it lives, but does not reflect a different cultural value orientation.

Identity Politics

This concept has been explained by Gabriel Almond at length and is easy to understand. These means, experiences, and also influences, which all shape individual attitudes, create what is called identity politics, namely a combination of several feelings and attitudes as follows.

1. Within a political system, there are some basic attitudes and beliefs such as nationalism, ethnic or class identification, ideological attachments, as well as a fundamental sense of personal rights, privileges and obligations.

2. There is a lack of emotional commitment to knowledge of governmental and political institutions such as elections, the structure of representative bodies, the powers of the executive branch, the structure of the judiciary, and also the legal system.

3. There are more fast-changing views on events, political policies, political issues, as well as rising political figures. Identity politics has so far been understood in terms of personal identity and collective identity as well as identity built on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nation and religion.

Thus a series of explanations regarding the complete meaning of ethnicity, types, and examples that exist in society.