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    ‘Dominant ethnicity’ and the ‘ethnic-civic’ dichotomy in the work of A. D. Smith

    Kaufmann, Eric P. and Zimmer, O. (2004) ‘Dominant ethnicity’ and the ‘ethnic-civic’ dichotomy in the work of A. D. Smith. Nations and Nationalism 10 (1-2), pp. 63-78. ISSN 1354-5078.


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    This article considers the way in which the work of Anthony Smith has helped to structure debates surrounding the role of ethnicity in present-day nations. Two major lines of enquiry are evident here. First, the contemporary role of dominant ethnic groups within 'their' nations and second, the interplay between ethnic and civic elements in nationalist argument. The two processes are related, but maintain elements of distinctiveness. Smith's major contribution to the dominant ethnicity debate has been to disembed ethnicity from the ideologically-charged and/or anglo-centric discourse of ethnic relations and to place it in historical context, thereby opening up space for dominant group ethnicity to be considered as a distinct phenomenon. This said, Smith's work does not adequately account for the vicissitudes of dominant ethnicity in the contemporary West. Building on the classical works of Hans Kohn and Friedrich Meinecke, Anthony Smith has also made a seminal contribution to the debate on civic and ethnic forms of national identity and nationalist ideology. As well as freeing this debate from the strong normative overtones which it has often carried, he has continued to insist that the terms civic and ethnic should be treated as an ideal-typical distinction rather than a scheme of classification.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Nations and Nationalism is published on behalf of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism. The definitive version is available at
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
    Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2007
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:47


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