The Measurement of Ethnicity. Julie Lamb Department of Sociology University of Surrey. The Session. Defining ethnicity Problems of measuring the concept The measurement of ethnicity: theory The measurement of ethnicity: collecting data Labour Force Survey Census of Population
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Department of Sociology
University of Surrey
“An ethnic group is a collectivity within a larger population having real or putative common ancestry, memories of a shared past, and a cultural focus upon one or more symbolic elements which define the group’s identity, such as kinship, religion, language, shared territory, nationality or physical appearance. Members of an ethnic group are conscious of belonging to the group”
“In its original usage to be ethnic was to be heathen. Deriving form the Greek word ethnos – nation – contemporary usage has often preserved the exclusionary sentiments implicit in this conflation of religion and nationality. To be ethnic is to be different, foreign and marginal: ‘not one of us’”.
“I’m not African because it’s undermining that Africa is a continent, you know what I mean, they’re saying ‘what's your ethnic background?’. African it’s actually wrong because for me, someone from Senegal to someone from South Africa, we got absolutely, I mean absolutely no ethnic, anything in common apart from the colour of our skin, end of line you know? Like I’ll go today to South Africa, I’ll be surprised how they live” (Scottish Executive 2005: 66)
“1 Each of the major divisions of humankind, each having distinct physical characteristics. 2 Group of people, animals or plants connected by common descent” (Oxford Dictionary)
(Ethnic Group Statistics, ONS 2003:8)
‘From which of these groups listed on this card do you consider you are descended?’
00 English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish
03 Other European
04 West Indian or Guyanese
11 Any other racial or ethnic group or of mixed racial descent
12 No reply
Source: Ethnic Group Statistics 2003:4