Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference by Fredrik  Barth
153 pages, $21.95 list
0-88133-979-2
978-0-88133-979-6
Ethnic Groups and Boundaries
The Social Organization of Culture Difference
When originally published in Norway, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries marked the transition to a new era of ethnic studies. Today this much-cited classic is regarded as the seminal volume from which stems much current anthropological thinking about ethnicity. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries opens with Barth’s invaluable thirty-page essay that introduces students to important theoretical issues in the analysis of ethnic groups. Following is a collection of seven essays—the results of a symposium involving a small group of Scandinavian social anthropologists—intended to illustrate the application of Barth’s analytical viewpoints to different sides of the problems of polyethnic organization in various ethnographic areas, including Norway, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and Laos.
Reactions
“Even after more than four decades, this book continues to be a valuable tool for understanding and analyzing the nature of ethnicity. The case studies are useful for gaining insight into particular contexts, while the introduction and preface provide a comprehensive (without jargon, dense text, or obfuscating sentences) overview of Barth’s approach.” — Mary Lorena Kenny, Eastern Connecticut State University

“I share the widely held opinion that this book marked an epochal shift in the anthropological study of ethnicity. And, unlike so many other social science theories generated one, two or three decades ago, it has not become outdated.” —Katherine M. Verdery, Johns Hopkins University

“It would be difficult to overstate the influence which this book, and especially Barth’s introduction to it, has had on the anthropological study of ethnicity in general, and of ethnic identity in particular.” —Anthony P. Cohen, University of Edinburgh

“Barth went beyond existing conceptualizations in both depth and detail, theorizing ethnic identity within a wider set of arguments about social process and social forms.” —Richard Jenkins, Social Identity
Table of Contents
1. Introduction (Fredrik Barth)
2. When Ethnic Identity Is a Social Stigma (Harald Eidheim)
3. Economic Determinants in Ethnic Processes (Gunnar Haaland)
4. Ethnic and Cultural Differentiation (Jan-Petter Blom)
5. Dichotomization and Integration (Karl Eric Knutsson)
6. Ethnic Stability and Boundary Dynamics in Southern Mexico (Henning Siverts)
7. Pathan Identity and Its Maintenance (Fredrik Barth)
8. Neighbours in Laos (Karl G. Izikowitz)