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Identity in multicultural societies: who do we think we are?

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journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Wendy Kennedy, J Hall
This paper examines identity issues in multicultural Australia. In its extreme, negative form, assumptions that certain characteristics apply to all members of an ethnic group can be attributed to racism. However, the belief that individuals who share the same ethnic background have similar needs, interests and perceptions is also reflected in business, government policy and academic research. Often, ethnic groupings used for research and policy formulation are very broad and fail to take into account within-group differences. The criteria used to assess an individuals membership of an ethnic group can be problematic. Criteria based purely on objective measures such as country of birth or ethnic ancestry do not take into account acculturation processes or the degree to which individuals consider themselves to be 'ethnic '. These objective measures are complicated further as individuals may have ethnic roots from multiple countries depending on their family composition over several generations. This theory-focused paper proposes that ethnic identity should be viewed as a subjective phenomenon where individuals are likely to align themselves with the ethnic background to which they most identify. This has implications for research and policy making in multicultural societies.

History

Journal

International journal of diversity in organisations, communities and nations

Volume

6

Issue

2

Pagination

123 - 134

Publisher

Common Ground Publishing

Location

Altona, Vic.

ISSN

1447-9532

eISSN

1447-9583

Language

eng

Notes

Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, Common Ground Publishing

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