Ethnic Group Definition


Jersay
#1
Definition of Ethnic Group:

The term ethnic means of or pertaining to a group of people recognized as a class on the basis of certain distinctive characteristics such as religion, language, ancestry, culture or national origin.

Now, I am a follower of Asatru or Heathenism an old Germanic Northern European religion. However, it wasn't just a religion it was also a culture. The Vikings came out of this religion or cultural group of people and it colonized much of Europe during the Viking Age. However, I was wondering under this definition if the Viking people now re-created as Asatru or Heathenism would be called an Ethnic group with race as Caucasian or as a cultural group?

Because the Asatru/Viking people spoke Norse, (langauge), had their religion, (now Asatru), unknown what was called back then. They had their culture which is explained as blots and sumbelts as well as celebrating different gods, and activities. And they were mostly of a Northern European- Germanic origin.

Would that constitute as a ethnic group?

coe.sdsu.edu/people/jmora/Cul...es/tsld016.htm (external - login to view)
 
Jersay
#2
Can anyone help me with this question.

So would the religion and culture I practice be classified as a ethnic group or a cultural group?

And not only right now but back at its height in the Viking Age?

What do you guys think?
 
FiveParadox
#3
I think that such would be a reasonable assumption to make.

So often, there is a misconception in Western nations that in order to be "ethnic," you need to be a different colour, or eat spicy and exotic foods; but we're all ethnic. Different ethnicities, to be sure, but ethnic nonetheless.
 
Jersay
#4
Yeah a good example of ehtnicity of the same colour would be the Serbs and the Croats.

They on the biological level are the same exact person, but they believe in a different religion.

Serbs-Eastern Orthodox

Croats-Catholic
 
Finder
#5
Well I consider myself Black Irish. But I don't think Black Irish really is a ethnic group. Well..... I guess it would be a ethnic sub group of the Green Irish. Since it's considered a Celtic-Spainish mix. *shrugs*

Anyhow I'd consider from what you explained that Asatru, is either an ethnic group or a sub ethnic group from the Germans or the Scandinavians. If that makes sence.


I think we a spliting hairs though.
 
Jersay
#6
I didn't know what to think until I opened up my geography text and they stated that is what an ethnic group is. I guess if you followed it there would be millions of ethnic groups.

Just found it interesting though.
 
Finder
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

I didn't know what to think until I opened up my geography text and they stated that is what an ethnic group is. I guess if you followed it there would be millions of ethnic groups.

Just found it interesting though.

Yeah in a sence you could say that. But look too, a lot of these ancient groups mixed together a lot. Also is tongue still actively spoken.

I know The Celtic's (Irish) have had a long hard time still being regonized as an ethnic group. With over 3 million fluant speakers in Irish Celtic the tongue is still either seen as almost dead and or seen as a slow recovery.

With this said even the Irish cultural/ethnicity has been grouped together with the Anglo-saxon group, because English is the main tongue of Ireland now.
 
Jersay
#8
Good point.

On the topic of Celtic, in Ireland wasn't there a movement to rename all the towns and roads with the Celtic tongue again and not with the british names?
 
Finder
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

Good point.

On the topic of Celtic, in Ireland wasn't there a movement to rename all the towns and roads with the Celtic tongue again and not with the british names?

I was just in Ireland a few months ago. They have gaulic television and most signs are in Gaulic and english now. Also many names in Ireland are also Viking names since they held large parts of the country for many years. The names are historic and I doubt they will change.... like Dublin.

I think the point most try to make with Ireland is the gaulic/celtic tongue was almost dead, very few people who speak it as a first tongue still spoke it a 25 years ago. But Ireland has made a great effort to make as many people as possible in the educational system brought up with both English and Gaulic.

It would be like people in Rome relearning Latin and calling themselves Roman. Now Latin did die and has been gone for a long time, while gaulic had a long dieing time and may not have died completely but so few actually spoke it as a first tonue at one point, it's a little grey and leaning to the side of the celtic cultural being merged with that of the anglo-saxon.

As a celt (who doesn't even know more then a handful of words in gaulic) I'm not sure if Ireland can pull it off. But they sure are trying hard.
 
Jersay
#10
Quote:

I was just in Ireland a few months ago. They have gaulic television and most signs are in Gaulic and english now. Also many names in Ireland are also Viking names since they held large parts of the country for many years. The names are historic and I doubt they will change.... like Dublin.

Actually Latin is still around even though it has been dying for centuries.

Hopefully Gaulic can remain. I am actually taking a Norse course and know a few words in Norse, but I think it is in even more decline than Gaulic.

So Ireland has renamed some signs, with Viking names?
 
Finder
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

Quote:

I was just in Ireland a few months ago. They have gaulic television and most signs are in Gaulic and english now. Also many names in Ireland are also Viking names since they held large parts of the country for many years. The names are historic and I doubt they will change.... like Dublin.

Actually Latin is still around even though it has been dying for centuries.

Hopefully Gaulic can remain. I am actually taking a Norse course and know a few words in Norse, but I think it is in even more decline than Gaulic.

So Ireland has renamed some signs, with Viking names?

Latin actually isn't. Nobody is sure how it was spoken by the actual Romans. It survived in the Writen form yes because of the cathlic church, but is spoken as a first tongue by nobody.

It does have a legacy though in the Romantic tongues. But so does Gaulic in English and a few others where gaulic words crept in.
 
Jersay
#12
Quote:

Latin actually isn't. Nobody is sure how it was spoken by the actual Romans. It survived in the Writen form yes because of the cathlic church, but is spoken as a first tongue by nobody.

It does have a legacy though in the Romantic tongues. But so does Gaulic in English and a few others where gaulic words crept in

Well English is well known to take words out of almost all languages in the world.

Doesn't it have bits of Dutch, French, Spanish and others?
 
Finder
#13
Well English is a mixture of many different tongues. But it is a very butchered Germanic language. But the three main language's if memory serves me right which have had effects on our language is German, Gaulic and French. I'm sure Dutch does have a significant roll too. Really any western European tongue would have influanced english. But it is in the Germanic language group.
 
Jersay
#14
Agreed. That is probably because of the Viking Invasion of England and the surrounding areas and the control of those areas until at least 1066 A.D.
 
Jersay
#15
Anyone else on this subject. I would like to know everyone's opinion.
 
Timetrvlr
#16
I'm white and I suppose that puts me in the white ethnic group but it wasn't always so. Let me explain.

My ancestors that left Africa 85,000 years ago and crossed the Red Sea at The Gates Of Grief were very black. Then they wandered down the shoreline beachcombing for food to southeast Asia. My ancestors that then went north up the fertile crescent 56.000 years ago were at least fairly dark. Journey of Mankind (external - login to view)

My ancestors that lived in Europe 45,000 years ago were pretty light, they had to be to survive. It was cold as hell, there wasn't much sunlight so they had to soak up all the sunlight they could to produce vitamin D as efficiently as possible. If we had access to seal and whale as the Inuit do, they might have got enough vitamin D from thier diet, but they didn't. I'm white because of natural selection. Those that weren't died and left no descendants. Does that sound reasonable?

Doesn't this timeframe make the arguments for race, language and religeous divisions seem kind of silly? We are all of the same race; Homo Sapiens, and our ancestors have been darker or lighter than we are now, whatever was needed to survive the conditions they lived in.
 
Finder
#17
Yeah but for some people cultural matters to there self indenity. My people had to fight off every invader for the past 1000 years, plus a horrible history of British rule. Also national idenity have helped spark home rule around the world. It's just not the domain of racists.


When I say I'm Irish Canadian, or Black Irish Canadian, I'm not saying I'm better then an Anglo-Saxon Canadian, or a Native Canadian or an Asian Canadain, I'm just honouring my roots. Hell in Eatons less then 80 years ago they had signs up, No Dogs or Irish need apply

So yeah we all know we orginate in Africa but little of our stone age past is remembered in our cultures.
 
lucy66
#18
I like discuss this.
 
Jo Canadian
#19
Actually I'm currently reading a book with that type of analasys in mind. So far it's pretty good. I'll have to fill you in with it when I'm done.

This is what it is:

 
poligeek
#20
From my poli-sci background "Ethnicity" is an academic mainly anthropological refinement of the more generic term "folk".

As empires expanded many "folk" became Roman, or British, or Nordic nationality etc.... but were quite different from the founding empire.

While no one has made a hard and fast definition of "folk" anthropologists are continually defining and re-defining "ethnicity" using on-the-ground long-term research. Ethnicity is one of those terms like "race" "gender" and "class" that will not remain static but will continually change over time.

Ethnicity began from the roots of the same words as "pagan" and "heathen" and was originally used to refer to a race-based minority within a dominant class. However it has developed and continues to be re-defined to include elements of culture, language, religion etc....

This is the best online definition I could find:

Quote:

In everyday language, the word ethnicity still has a ring of "minority issues" and "race relations", but in social anthropology, it refers to aspects of relationships between groups which consider themselves, and are regarded by others, as being culturally distinctive. Although it is true that "the discourse concerning ethnicity tends to concern itself with subnational units, or minorities of some kind or another" (Chapman et al., 1989: 17), majorities and dominant peoples are no less "ethnic" than minorities.

From the same passage:

Quote:

Through its dependence on long-term fieldwork, anthropology has the advantage of generating first-hand knowledge of social life at the level of everyday interaction. To a great extent, this is the locus where ethnicity is created and re-created. Ethnicity emerges and is made relevant through ongoing social situations and encounters, and through people's ways of coping with the demands and challenges of life. From its vantage-point right at the centre of local life, social anthropology is in a unique position to investigate these processes. Anthropological approaches also enable us to explore the ways in which ethnic relations are being defined and perceived by people; how they talk and think about their own group as well as other groups, and how particular world-views are being maintained or contested. The significance of ethnic membership to people can best be investigated through that detailed on-the-ground research which is the hallmark of anthropology. Finally, social anthropology, being a comparative discipline, studies both differences and similarities between ethnic phenomena. It thereby provides a nuanced and complex vision of ethnicity in the contemporary world.

Click Here for Link (external - login to view)



The original question was:
Quote:

Now, I am a follower of Asatru or Heathenism an old Germanic Northern European religion. However, it wasn't just a religion it was also a culture. The Vikings came out of this religion or cultural group of people and it colonized much of Europe during the Viking Age. However, I was wondering under this definition if the Viking people now re-created as Asatru or Heathenism would be called an Ethnic group with race as Caucasian or as a cultural group?

I'm not sure if you are asking:

a) Are the Astru a historical ethnic goup?
To which I believe the answer is yes.

b) Are the Vikings a historical ethnic group that would be a post-Astru ethnic group?
To which I believe the answer is yes.

c) Are contemporary people who self-identify as Astru and see a lineage to Viking history an ethnic group or a cultural group?
I think I would answer that: Currently they are a cultural group with the potential to become an ethnic classification.

I see cultural as something that has the potential to transcend history, we can identify Roman and Egyptian "culture" that was the "culture" a thousand and two thousand years ago without transcribing that culture onto today's Romans and Egyptians which now have a quite different and distinct culture to the historical culture.

Cultural markers can be studied and made tangiable through a careful study of anthropological history.

However ethnicity seems more contemporary and is not only how one self-identifies but also how one is outwardly identifiable.

In that way an ancient culture has the potential to become an ethnicity if enough people choose to revive that culture in contemporary times. Which seems to be what the Celtic/Gaulish/Irish are attempting to do.
 
Finder
#21
poligeek, the difference is the Celtic/Irish/Gaulic cultural never truly died out, it almost did, but was slowed down, and is being reversed. It's not starting from scratch, we know what Gaulic sounds like, and we have millions of Gaulic speakers who speak gaulic as well as english, in the orginal tongue of irish gaulic. Unlike a remaking, or a retreaval of Latin-Roman or Ancient Eygption culturals, there's nobody around who knows how to even speak the tongues properly, nor who have first hand expierance in the culture, unlike Ireland.

Ireland was pretty close to losing it's culture to the English. But luckly the Western part of Ireland isolated with small settlements which had people who only knew how to speak gaulic up to these times and who have not stop celtic traditions.

So I would argue though, Celtic/Gaulic/Irish culture was close to becoming a dead culture/tongue and being absorbed by the anglo-saxon culture I would have to say they were able to stop or at least slow down this process. The fact that everyone on the Island now speaks english and that the other offical tongue is gaulic but is treated more like a second tongue like french is in the rest of Canada kind of shows a deminishing of the gaulic cultural to that of the anglo-saxon. BUT the west still has many people who use gaulic as a living a tongue and will speak it in work watch only gaulic tv.

I'm not saying this just from what I've read but from traveling Ireland myself. It really opened my eyes to both sides. One the weakening of Irish culture by the absorbation of the culture into that of the anglo-saxon and the western use of gaulic obbssed to just a almost mystic-nationalism of the east of "Irishness" and actual Irish culture in the west.
 
Jersay
#22
Quote:

I'm not sure if you are asking:

a) Are the Astru a historical ethnic goup?
To which I believe the answer is yes.

b) Are the Vikings a historical ethnic group that would be a post-Astru ethnic group?
To which I believe the answer is yes.

c) Are contemporary people who self-identify as Astru and see a lineage to Viking history an ethnic group or a cultural group?
I think I would answer that: Currently they are a cultural group with the potential to become an ethnic classification.

I see cultural as something that has the potential to transcend history, we can identify Roman and Egyptian "culture" that was the "culture" a thousand and two thousand years ago without transcribing that culture onto today's Romans and Egyptians which now have a quite different and distinct culture to the historical culture.

Cultural markers can be studied and made tangiable through a careful study of anthropological history.

However ethnicity seems more contemporary and is not only how one self-identifies but also how one is outwardly identifiable.

In that way an ancient culture has the potential to become an ethnicity if enough people choose to revive that culture in contemporary times. Which seems to be what the Celtic/Gaulish/Irish are attempting to do.

Cultural group almost becoming an ethnic group makes sense.

Got a question, geopgraphy doesn't explain this, but what would be the requirement for a potential ethnicity? Because Asatru is recognized as a religion in Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

And it has from, 35,000 to 100,000 followers?

What would make up an ethnic group as a reconstruction of Asatru and Viking lineage?
 
Jersay
#23
Here is a list of all ethnic groups in the world. I have to tell you it is an extremely long one.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups (external - login to view)
 
Jersay
#24
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Nor...ects_and_texts (external - login to view)

Link to Old Norse
 
Finder
#25
You have to remember though wikipedia is a nice tool, it can basically be edited by anyone. So for instance if I wanted to make my own ethnic group. Lets say, Torontatian Black Irish, I'd just jump in there and edit the document. Now I don't think I'd consider this an ethnic group. There's many groups in there I don't think are ethnic groups really and others which are dead.

The Irish one is the closet one I can think about to one which was on the edge of being lost and still has problems of being absourbed into another ethnic group, but can still be called an ethnic group for now.

Now if tomorrow 5 thousand, or whatever Italins living in Rome, decided that they'd speak latin, and then do what they believe to be as Roman traditions, I would not consider themselves an ethinic group. They have the right to do this. Two things

a. I think a group would have to be around for generations with there new traditions as these would be new traditions as they do not directly come from living romans but they adopted the beliefs of ancient romans beliving they are emulating them. But they have not seen or heard from a living roman so it's a new group not a countuation of an old one. Roman-Latin culture is dead. This group however if it did last a few generations would be an ethnic group but only of the new Roman-Latin one and not of the old ancient one.

b. As said you can not restore a dead culture/ethnic group. You can only make new ones based on older ones. However if the culture did not die, like the Irish, you may try to revitalize that group.

brb
 
Jay
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Jo Canadian

Actually I'm currently reading a book with that type of analasys in mind. So far it's pretty good. I'll have to fill you in with it when I'm done.

This is what it is:

That was on TV here just a few weeks ago....
 
Toro
#27
I am a member of a marginalized group. I'm a "Canadian-American". Well, I'm not an American, but you get the idea.
 
poligeek
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Finder

poligeek, the difference is the Celtic/Irish/Gaulic cultural never truly died out, it almost did, but was slowed down, and is being reversed.

I understand the point you are trying to make, but I think you seriously misintrepreted what I was saying.

I was not saying that the Irish culture could not be revived. In fact, I was saying pretty much the opposite. I also never claimed that the Irish culture had fully died out. I am fairly familiar with the work done by Queen's University Belfast to encourage re-vitalization of the native-Irish culture.

That being said when we are speaking of cultures and ethnicities I think you are correct to identify that a modern day culture cannot take the place of a culture that has died out.

But I think it is also important to empahsize that cultures and ethnicities are living non-static things. In this way even though the Irish culture may not have fully died out, even if it was a dominant culture, the Irish / Celtic / Gaulish culture and ethnicity that are evident and present today are not the same culture that was present 100, 1,000 and 2,000 years ago.

Likewise with Jersey's question about the Astru.

No movement can become the Astru culture that existed in the past. This does not mean that a new Astru culture cannot be re-created and become an existing ethnicity.
 
poligeek
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay


Cultural group almost becoming an ethnic group makes sense.

Got a question, geopgraphy doesn't explain this, but what would be the requirement for a potential ethnicity? Because Asatru is recognized as a religion in Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

And it has from, 35,000 to 100,000 followers?

What would make up an ethnic group as a reconstruction of Asatru and Viking lineage?

The difference between a cultures and ethnicities can either be historic or living.

There can also be cultures and ethnicities that are both. For example the British culture / ethnicity is both historical and contemporary. We can recognize historical and contemporary British culuture both as a continum and as seperate realisms.

In this way I think it is perfectly clear that Astru exists as a historical culture and as a historical ethnicity.

There is probably a strong argument that there is a contemporary Astru culture.

What is not clear is if there is a contemporary Astru ethnicity, the largest requirement of an ethnic identity being outside recognition of the self-identified ethnic group.
 
Finder
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by poligeek

Quote: Originally Posted by Finderpoligeek, the difference is the Celtic/Irish/Gaulic cultural never truly died out, it almost did, but was slowed down, and is being reversed.I understand the point you are trying to make, but I think you seriously misintrepreted what I was saying.
I was not saying that the Irish culture could not be revived. In fact, I was saying pretty much the opposite. I also never claimed that the Irish culture had fully died out. I am fairly familiar with the work done by Queen's University Belfast to encourage re-vitalization of the native-Irish culture.
That being said when we are speaking of cultures and ethnicities I think you are correct to identify that a modern day culture cannot take the place of a culture that has died out.
But I think it is also important to empahsize that cultures and ethnicities are living non-static things. In this way even though the Irish culture may not have fully died out, even if it was a dominant culture, the Irish / Celtic / Gaulish culture and ethnicity that are evident and present today are not the same culture that was present 100, 1,000 and 2,000 years ago.
Likewise with Jersey's question about the Astru.

Quote has been trimmed

Ok then we mostly agree then.
 

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