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Affiliative Ethnic Identity: A More Elastic link between Ethnic Ancestry and Culture

Book jacket for Ethnic and Racial Studies

Jiménez, Tomás R. 2010 “Affiliative Ethnic Identity: A More Elastic link between Ethnic Ancestry and Culture.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(10): 1756-1775.

This paper explains the development of affiliative ethnic identity: an individual identity rooted in knowledge, regular consumption and deployment of an ethnic culture that is unconnected to an individual’s ethnic ancestry until that individual regards herself, and may be regarded by others, as an affiliate of a particular ethnic group. While ethnic culture remains identifiably linked to a particular ethnic ancestry, ideological, institutional and demographic changes have elasticized the link between ancestry and culture, making the formation of affiliative ethnic identity possible. Multiculturalism and its accompanying value of diversity have become institutionalized such that individuals regard ethnic difference as something to be recognized and celebrated. The prevalence of ethnic culture in schools, ethnically infused products of popular culture, demographic changes and growing interethnic contact allow individuals, regardless of ethnic ancestry, ready access to multiple ethnic cultures, providing the basis for the formation of affiliative ethnic identity.