Research Topic: Ethnic Identity Formation and its influence

Annotated Bibliography

First Source

Svensson, Y., Berne, J., & Syed, M. (2017). A narrative approach to the role of others in ethnic          identity formation.

Summary of the source

Others play an important role in the ethnic identity formation of human beings. The role of others may be influential in various forms like they may be involved to a certain extent meaning there might be a certain limit within which other might be influential in the ethnic identity formation of a person. Others might also have specific roles in action. For example the role of family and friend. Living in a certain social setup might also be influential. For example it might matter if you live with a majority, a minority or in a place where people from different ethnicities live together.

The research has used 191 participants in the research with different age groups and primarily identified themselves as Swedish. The research involved both quantitate and qualitative data in its analysis. The study relied on how people identified themselves and the ways they thought they have been influenced by others in the process of their identity formation.

According to the findings of the research, people identified themselves in their unique ways when it came to their ethnic identity but they did note that others were influential in their ethnic identity. People who participated in the study were able to use others as a reference when they identified themselves. The identified their ethnic identities, they either contrasted with others, called them raising awareness in them about their identity, of denied something to the participants that was a cause of the ethnic identity formation.

History of the search

I browsed university library at the URL: Then I put the keyword “ethnic identity formation” in the search box and searched for journal article. The article I selected and cited above is the most recent one and sheds light on the topic I am writing an essay about.

Key Quotations

“An exploratory, narrative approach was used, and written narratives were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively.”

The above quotation from the study emphasize on the narrative process that the participants used to ethnically identify themselves. It also points to the fact that some data was gathered quantitatively which would then be analyzed with different statistical tools. On the other hand, some data was qualitative and would be interpreted by the researchers in various ways.

“Results showed that others were present in most of the ethnicity-defining experiences and most participants expressed a self-defined ethnic identity.”

This quote from the research points to the fact that though, many people could belong to the same ethnic background but they might have their own self-defined ethnic identities.

“In multicultural societies, for people to have the power to define and have their ethnic identities accepted is a necessary condition for integration.”

This is a very interesting quote from the research. It signifies that when we live in a multicultural society, the people should have the power to define their ethnic identity because they would feel empowered and not feel as if they have been dictated by others to ethnically identify themselves in a certain way.

Usefulness for my essay

The focus of my research is on how ethnic identities are formed and what their influence is. The research article would be helpful in identifying an important part of how people identify themselves ethnically. This research article also has some answers to the question of influence of ethnic identities on human beings who live as a part of a society. For example people, if given independence to ethnically identify themselves the way they like, they would more easily be able to accept the ethnic identities of others and become a productive part of a multicultural society.


Second Source

Chandra, K. (2006). What is ethnic identity and does it matter?. Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci.9, 397-     424.

Summary of the source

This research source has provided an answer to the question if ethnic identity from a political point of view. There is not agreed upon definition of how ethnic identity is formed. The author of the research paper has conducted an intense overview of the available literature related to ethnic identity and provided his own version of definition. The research article has shed light on ethnic identity as an extension of the human need to be a part of a group or party, as it happens in the conventional politics. The research has further linked ethnic identity to what it could lead to i.e. violence, patronage or democratic stability in a region. Ethnic identity matters because it can ensure that people act as groups to address their needs. Like in politics, different ethnicities may decide to vote in the favor of a candidate that belongs to their own ethnicity or promises to ensure the needs of the specific ethnic group being met. The research further points out that people with different colors and religious backgrounds may identify themselves to be a part of the same ethnic identity to gain political and social strength. Ethnic identity has direct relation with ethnic diversity, ethnic riots, ethnic parties, and ethnic conflicts and so on and further research is needed to define the factors that make this relation.

History of the search

Previously I used the university online library. For this annotated bibliography research source, I conducted a search on Google Scholar as it is also one of the leading source for research literature. I searched for the term “what is ethnic identity” and was presented with several results. I selected the above source because it directly answers my question and was available for a full download. The research is conducted in 2006 but with a unique approach to my research topic.

Key Quotations

“Ethnic identity—and concepts related to ethnic identity such as ethnic diversity, ethnic riots, ethnic parties, ethnic violence, ethnic conflict, and so on—either does not matter or has not been shown to matter as an independent variable by most previous theoretical work on ethnic identity.”

The above quote from the research article has emphasized the fact that ethnic diversity, ethnic riots, ethnic parties, ethnic violence, ethnic conflict, and so on are related to ethnic identity but researchers might have overlooked the facts and not put enough efforts to identify the relationship.

“By “identity,” I mean any social category in which an individual is eligible to be a member.”

This is a really good definition of an identity. Before I can discuss in depth, what actually ethnic identity is, I needed to understand what actually identity itself is. Now I understand that it is a social construct.

“I situate this definition in the lineage of past definitions, eliminating some of the properties routinely associated with ethnic identity.”

The author has provided a summary of the article if you ask me. The article is about providing and overview of ethnic identity and then comparing and placing a new definition to the list of these definitions.

Usefulness for my essay

In my research essay, I am trying to find answers to question like what is the general understanding about ethnic identity, how is ethnic identity formed and why does it matter at all if it does. The source under discussion has explained different definitions about ethnic identity which could answer the general understanding question about ethnic identity. It has also explained different point of views related to why ethnic identity may matter which could be a useful part of my research essay. Apart from the discussed points, the research source has abundance of information related to ethnic identity which could be utilized in different sections of my essay.


Third Source

Leoussi, A. (Ed.). (2006). Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in     the Formation of Nations: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations.            Edinburgh University Press.

Summary of the source

The book has many interesting topics. The first part of the book discusses the theories of nationalism and the ethno symbolic approach. Further in the book, the relationship between ethnicities and racism is introduced in the globalized world. National identity has been discussed and how it can motivate people to wars with each other has been also been explained. The history of ethno symbolism has been provided in detail since the time of ancient Mediterranean world till the present world that has many ethnic state in the form of Israel in the shadow of Muslim and Arab nationalism.

There is a close relation between languages and ethnicities. In some places, languages are the products of ethnicities while in others, it is the other way around. The book has explained the relationship between language, ethnic identity and nationalism in the context of modern Bengal. The relationship between ethnic origins and indigenous people has been explained in the light of Latin America. Ethnic identity is also a strong motivational and driving force in the modern world. The last chapter of the book is about the power of ethnic traditions and the modern world that discuss why ethnic identity is still important in the modern world though some may suggest it is not relevant.

History of the search

I searched for the term “ethnic identity and culture” on the VCU library. Many resources were found related to my search term. I was looking for something that will be available in the electronic form so that I can read it on my computer screen. Most of the material was available in the print form in the library. I selected the book, “Nationalism and ethno symbolism, History, culture and ethnicity in the formation of nations.” This book has a lot of valuable topics that can help in my research.

Key Quotations

“As capitalism has spread, in one form or another, to virtually all societies on every continent, the issue of whether man can live by bread alone has taken on renewed significance.”

This quotation deals with the new definitions of ethnic identity formation due to capitalism. We may have been defining ethnicities according to the bread a person belongs to but is it even valid in the modern time when we have capitalist societies that are driven by capital and not bread or personal relations?

“Nationalism must be seen as a socially constructed belief system.”

This quotation is important because it lets us think about not only the formation of national identities but also ethnic identities. We must think about how national and ethnic identities are formed over a certain period of time. Is it because of society itself or other factors are also involved.

“Signifying a sense of kinship and similarity among the members of a group, ethnos came to stand for a group of persons related by imputed ties of kinship.”

Ethnicity has been described as an extension of a sense of kinship that has existed over hundreds of years of human history. And yet, in the modern age, ethnicity and kinship are given importance.

Usefulness for my essay

The book is of benefit to my essay in many fronts. First, this book has provided an overview of different theories that discuss ethnic identities. Defining and explaining ethnic identity from different perspectives is important in my essay. Then, the book has related ethnic identity to different variables like nationalism, and racism which could be a part of my research essay. Another benefit that the essay has for my essay is the link between language formation and ethnic identity. The influence of ethnic identity on many social variables is also a part of the book and my research essay.