Ethnic Groups and Boundaries

Barth, Fredrik (ed.): Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The Social Organization of Culture Difference

This collection of essays addresses itself to the problems of ethnic groups and their persistence. This is a theme of great, but neglected, importance to social anthropology. Practically all anthropological reasoning rests on the premise that cultural variation is discontinuous: that there are aggregates of people who essentially share a common culture, and interconnected differences that distinguish each such discrete culture from all others. Since culture is nothing but a way to describe human behaviour, it would follow that there are discrete groups of people, i.e. ethnic units, to correspond to each culture. The differences between cultures, and their historic boundaries and connections, have been given much attention; the constitution of ethnic groups, and the nature of the boundaries between them, has not been correspondingly investigated.

Social anthropologists have largely avoided these problems by using a highly abstracted concept of "society" to represent the encompassing social system within which smaller, concrete groups and units may be analysed, but this leaves untouched the empirical characteristics and boundaries of ethnic groups, and the important theoretical issues which an investigation of them raises.

First published: 1969 by Universitetsforlaget

Translations: Brazilian Portuguese (Editora UNESP, Sao Paulo), French (Presses Universitaires de France, Paris), Greek (Stucti Publ., Athens), Italian (Rosenberg & Sellier, Torino), Polish (PWN, Warsaw), Russian (Novoe izdatelstvo 000, Moscow), Spanish (Fondo de Cultura Economica, Mexico City), Turkish (Baglam Yayinlari, Istanbul), US edition reprinted by Waveland Press

Fredrik Barth: Biography and bibliography

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Language Foreign publisher
Brazilian Portuguese Editora UNESP
British English Uitgeverij Acco
British English Amsterdam University Press
Chinese (complex) The Commercial Press
Greek Stucti Publisher
Italian Rosenberg & Sellier, Torino
Macedonian Mehopa
Polish PWN, Warsaw
Russian Novoe izdatelstvo 000, Moscow
Spanish Fondo de Cultura Economica, Mexico City
Turkish Baglam Yayinlari, Istanbul

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