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Define the Relationship Between Ethnicity, Census and Identity Formation

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Define the relationship between Ethnicity, Census and Identity formation

We live in a strongly progressing world and usually from the day we are born, we believe we are free to define our destiny. But is this entirely true if from the very beginning we are defined and included in a society of which we are ignorant? As we grow, so does our erg to find who we are and where we belong, as to say identify ourselves. This willingness to discover “the inner self” leads us to a search of “others like us”. “People who are generally recognized be themselves and/or others as a distinct group, with such recognition based on social or cultural characteristics.” (qtd. In Kertzer and Arel, p.21) вЂ" ethnicities, which on the other hand are directly linked to a census вЂ" generally viewed as a matter of bureaucratic routine, a necessity of the modern age, a kind of national accounting.

By our racial, ethnic, linguistic or religious “marks”, we are a part of a specific society or nation. But it was not always like that. People often had the sense of simply being “from here” and did not realize the complex meaning of “to belong”. History gives us great examples of struggle for identification. In Southeastern Europe, at the turn of the twentieth century, political boundaries were unstable because of the Ottoman Empire. By applying force, the Ottomans influenced several states in terms of language and religion. Bulgaria was in the middle of this fight. Often if Bulgarians refused to accept the new religion and define themselves as Turks they were simply killed. This was a distinctive form of racism and discrimination against free will. For me it is wrong for: multiculturalism: to be restricted, but in the end, from a historical point of view, slavery plays a crucial role in peoples` conceptions of themselves. From the Balkans to Central Africa, ethnic conflict and violence have been interpreted as evidence that peoples` collective identities do not necessarily match national borders.

That is one of the main reasons why we say ethnicity is subjective. It can be defined as a group sharing cultural attributes, sometimes ignoring blood ties and descendents. Ironically though, exactly those characteristics have cost a lot of innocent lives in the past. In Nazi Germany, for example, the policy of the “one вЂ" fourth blood quantum” played role in identifying both Jews and Germans. Those with at least three Jewish grandparents were categorized as Jews. Ancestry, in tern, was determined by birth certificates issued by religious institutions. That was, for instance, a form of census вЂ" an ability to make distinctions, to draw borders, to distinguish among nations, religions or languages. Many find this offensive, but regarding the complex world we live in, it has turned to a necessity.

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