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Ethnicity and Nationhood. AP Human Geography. Ethnicity Reviewed. As we previously discussed, ethnicity refers to the cultural background of a group of people, as opposed to race, which refers to physical/ biological background.

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Ethnicity and nationhood

Ethnicity and Nationhood

AP Human Geography


Ethnicity reviewed
Ethnicity Reviewed

  • As we previously discussed, ethnicity refers to the cultural background of a group of people, as opposed to race, which refers to physical/ biological background.

  • Therefore, people of the same ethnic group may have the same religion, language, customs/ traditions, clothing, music/ art, clothing, etc.


Ethnicity and nationality
Ethnicity and Nationality

  • Cultural similarities within an ethnic group typically lead to a strong sense of togetherness and unity.

  • In an effort to preserve their culture, many ethnic groups seek self-determination, which is the right to self-government.

  • When an ethnic group becomes a country, they become known as a nationality.

  • Multiple ethnicities within a country can lead to conflict and in many cases, violence.


What is a nation state
What is a nation-state?

  • Ethnic groups may seek to create a nation-state, which is a country dominated by one ethnicity.

  • Essentially, the boundaries of a country are drawn around an ethnic group.

  • This allows an ethnic group to govern themselves based on their own values and culture.

  • Examples: Japan, most of Europe, Israel, former Yugoslavia




Multi ethnic state
Multi-Ethnic State

  • A multi-ethnic state is any country with many different ethnic groups living in its borders.

  • Typically, these groups co-exist peacefully, but sometimes ethnic groups want to break away and form their own states.

  • Examples: USA!, Russia



Multi national state
Multi-National State

  • A state made up of two or more nations (ethnic groups) with self- determination.

  • Ex. United Kingdom, made up of England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland



Stateless nation
Stateless Nation

  • An ethnic group/ nation with no country of it’s own.

  • Often spread over many countries.

  • Ex. Palestinians, Kurds



Centripetal vs centrifugal forces
Centripetal vs. Centrifugal Forces

Centripetal (towards the center)

Centrifugal (away from the center)

Anything that divides a country

Cultural differences

Weak central government

Regional over national pride

  • Anything that unites a country

  • Nationalism (pride)

    • Songs, flags

  • Same lang/ religion/etc.

  • Sports

  • Common history

  • Strong leader/ government


Yugoslavia and balkanization
Yugoslavia and Balkanization

  • The former Yugoslavia is an excellent example of a multi-ethnic country that broke apart into many smaller nation-states.

  • Where? Balkan Peninsula (SE Europe, north of Greece)

  • When? Yugoslavia was created after WWI.

  • Who? Many ethnic groups, inc. Bosnians, Albanians, Croats, Serbians, Slovenes. Also, different religions (Christianity, Islam) and languages.

  • On paper, a recipe for conflict.


Yugoslavia and balkanization1
Yugoslavia and Balkanization

  • Yugoslavia was held together by a strong dictator (centripetal force), Joseph (Josip) Tito from 1953-1980.

  • Tito kept the various ethnic/ religious group from fighting each other.

  • After Tito’s death in 1980, various groups began fighting for power and land, resulting in war and genocide (ethnic cleansing)

  • The break up of a state into many smaller states based on ethnic divisions is known as balkanization.

  • Today, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herz, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia are all independent nation-states.




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