Ethnic Mobilization in World Politics: The Primordial Perspective
Ethnicity plays a vital role in contemporary world politics. This collection of essays documents the international dimensions of ethnic identity by examining the interaction between ethnicity and the actions of modern nation-states in a variety of global, regional, and urban settings throughout the world. The editor, John F. Stack, Jr., provocatively argues that the dynamics of ethnicity in the contemporary world are best examined from the perspective of primordial attachments--those givens of social existence based on family ties, race, custom, language, religion, and region. This perspective is disputed by a number of the contributors who see ethnicity as the result of instrumental forces--state building, socioeconomic class, modernization, political development, and the transformation of the global political economy.
This volume is a contribution to the already large body of literature analyzing ethnicity throughout the world. While no theory of ethnic mobilization or the politicization of ethnonationalism is proposed here, it may be helpful to highlight a number of recent conceptual contributions to the study of ethnicity. Although neglected in most of the recent literature, the concept of primordial attachments as defined by Clifford Geertz is a useful perspective from which to analyze the dynamics of ethnicity throughout the world.