Ethnic Group

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An Ethnic Group is a social group that shares a common culture, language, ancestry, and history.

  • Context:
    • It can (typically) be defined by shared cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set them apart from other groups.
    • It can (often) have a collective identity and a sense of shared fate.
    • It can include a common language or dialect, religious beliefs, and traditions.
    • It can trace their lineage to a common ancestry.
    • It can have distinct social, economic, and political structures within a larger society.
    • It can experience social cohesion through shared customs, values, and norms.
    • ...
  • Example(s):
    • a Vietnamese Ethnic Group, which shares the Vietnamese language, customs, and heritage.
    • Indigenous Peoples, (that ...), such as:
      • the Maori People, who are indigenous to New Zealand and maintain distinct cultural practices.
      • the Inuit People, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, and Alaska.
      • the Aboriginal Australian People, the original inhabitants of Australia with diverse languages and cultures.
      • the Khoisan People, indigenous people of Southern Africa with a distinct linguistic and cultural heritage.
      • ...
    • Historical Ethnic Groups, (that ...), such as:
      • the Vikings, a seafaring people from Scandinavia known for their explorations and raids during the Viking Age.
      • the Aztecs, a Mesoamerican culture that thrived in central Mexico before the Spanish conquest.
      • the Celts, ancient people who lived across Europe, known for their unique art, mythology, and warrior culture.
      • ...
    • Modern Ethnic Groups, (that ...), such as:
      • the Han Chinese People (of Han Chinese), the largest ethnic group in China with a rich cultural heritage and historical influence.
      • the Zulu People, a prominent ethnic group in South Africa known for their history and warrior traditions.
      • the Punjabi People, an ethnic group from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, known for their vibrant culture and traditions.
    • ...
  • Counter-Example(s):
    • a Cosmopolitan Community, which consists of diverse individuals from various ethnic backgrounds living together.
    • ...
  • See: Social Relationship, Marriage Institution, Khoisan



  1. Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983), The Invention of Tradition, Sider 1993 Lumbee Indian Histories
  2. Seidner,(1982), Ethnicity, Language, and Power from a Psycholinguistic Perspective, pp. 2-3
  3. Smith 1987 pp.21-22


  • (Phinney, 1990) ⇒ Jean S. Phinney. (1990). “Ethnic Identity in Adolescents and Adults: Review of Research.” Psychological bulletin 108, no. 3
    • ABSTRACT: Ethnic identity is central to the psychological functioning of members of ethnic and racial minority groups, but research on the topic is fragmentary and inconclusive. This article is a review of 70 studies of ethnic identity published in refereed journals since 1972. The author discusses the ways in which ethnic identity has been defined and conceptualized, the components that have been measured, and empirical findings. The task of understanding ethnic identity is complicated because the uniqueness that distinguishes each group makes it difficult to draw general conclusions. A focus on the common elements that apply across groups could lead to a better understanding of ethnic identity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)