Ethnic groups of people

We all know about the existence of races. The Chinese can be easily distinguished from the African by skin color and other traits. But there are also smaller divisions within races into nations, peoples, and also into ethnic groups. What it is?

Classification of people

Practically in any country it is possible to find a sufficient variety of nationalities. As a rule, all sorts of people live within the borders of modern states. They can be combined according to some economic characteristics, such as income level, propensity to save, job availability, etc .; social, for example, age, marital status, education, and some others. Finally, another criterion may be membership of an ethnic group. But not economics, sociology or psychology, but ethnography already deals with this. What is this science and why is such a division necessary?

ethnic groups


People can not live alone - it became clear long ago. That is why long since they began to form various groups, which in one form or another have come down to modern times.Now they are called ethnic communities. People in them can have their own language and culture, and this cannot be ignored, trying to control them. That is why sociology, among other things, includes a completely separate area that studies groups of people not from the point of view of their behavior, but in the context of their affiliation to a particular group according to ethnicity.

In fact, ethnography is closely associated primarily with the historical sciences, but it also has points of contact with linguistics, anthropology, psychology, and even philosophy. It can be called a relatively young discipline, because it originated only in the XVIII-XIX centuries, and before that only the first attempts were made to study aliens, but there was no system in this. So, despite the fact that the great geographical discoveries gave the Europeans a chance to study and describe in detail people who are completely different from them, they took advantage of it by no means immediately.

In the USA, anthropology and ethnography are often represented by one scientific field, and in the Old World they are traditionally distinguished. It is difficult to say what is correct: crushing or, on the contrary, a more general view.

ethnic social groups


Modern science identifies and recognizes several categories of separation of people, depending on the size of their group and some other features:

  • genus;
  • tribe;
  • nationality;
  • nation.

This classification primarily reflects development from a historical point of view, when people moved from primitive forms of association to more complex ones. If we consider taxonomy, we get a slightly different picture:

  • a family;
  • ethnic groups, or subethnos;
  • ethnic groups;
  • macroconnections.

main ethnic groups

This classification is more complex and less unambiguous for the average person. It is hardly obvious to a layman how ethnos differs from an ethnic group. In addition, the fact that for a long time domestic science has used its own terms, classifications and approaches, which differed sharply from the global ones, is causing considerable confusion. Now there is a gradual unification, but it’s still far from complete agreement. Simply put, ethnic groups are conditionally equal to nationalities, although the latter have some special features. Therefore, it is impossible to talk about the complete identity of these concepts. However, in the literature for some time there is a tendency to use the term "national-ethnic groups", which, firstly,can combine the two above-mentioned classifications, and secondly, remove unnecessary questions about semantics.

ethnic groups are

Signs of

Ethnic groups include associations of people with some common features. These characteristics include the following:

  • language (it is not always, by the way, can be one, but adverbs should be similar);
  • historical fate;
  • elements of culture;
  • self-identity and self-identification.

The latter, perhaps, is decisive. Ethnic groups are those in which people consciously refer themselves to a particular community. In this case, self-identification as a representative of the people one way or another includes all the other elements, that is, knowledge of the language, culture and traditions. On their basis, a certain mentality, habits, and peculiarities of the world view are formed.

By the way, the territorial attribute is not the determining factor. For quite a long time, it has been possible to observe the processes of resettlement of people from some states on the territory of other countries. And here you can see such a curious phenomenon as the formation of diasporas - ethnic groups outside the country.In some cities, it has become so serious in scale that there are entire neighborhoods inhabited by people from certain countries where their culture is preserved.

ethnic groups include


Ethnic groups do not arise spontaneously, a long process leads to their appearance - perhaps all modern anthropological schools are inclined to this opinion. In connection with the main ways of formation, a more or less general classification has emerged:

  • Ethnoterritorial group. So called community, resulting from the close contact of people with a common area of ​​residence.
  • Ethnosocial group. It was formed in connection with the special position of a part of people (on the basis of estates).
  • Ethno-confessional groups. They are distinguished by religious differences (on the basis of incompatibility of ethnic behavior, for example, the use of different variants of the native language or communication with other communities).


As for ethnic groups, any student can tell about them, although it is not always immediately clear what they are talking about. Examples include the Slavs, Scandinavians, Asians, and Hindus. Without a doubt, each of these communities includes a huge number of ethnic groups. Even among the Slavs, such ethnic social groups as the Pomors or the Old Believers can be distinguished.They, as is obvious, unite according to completely different signs. But both of them cannot be attributed to such a large unit as an ethnos.

It’s simply impossible to talk about the main ethnic groups around the world. But, for example, within the framework of the Russian Federation, it is possible to easily identify nations that are titular for their subjects, like Tuvans, Yakuts, Nenets, Mordvinians, etc. In turn, they can be divided into smaller groups.

ethnic groups of people


Ethnic groups make up diversity not only in a genetic and phenotypic sense, but often are the carriers of unique traditions, beliefs, language, etc. In the modern world, these connections can be gradually lost, because young people do not always consciously want to preserve the culture of their ancestors, refusing to in favor of less interesting and more uniform modern values.

There are even special programs aimed at preserving and encouraging the development of ancient and unusual traditions, in some regions competitions of national costumes, music, dances, etc. are held. All this is intended to popularize the unique elements of culture in various places of the planet.

Value and value

Ethnic groups of people cannot be ignored in any sphere: social, political, spiritual, economic. In some regions, conflicts and even local wars erupt on the basis of national identity. In addition, despite the desire of market players to simplify and unify the culture and values ​​of all people, marketers have to focus on certain ideas about the beauty of different nations, to take into account the various limits of permissible, morality, perception. In the spiritual sphere, the division is quite obvious: there are a huge number of confessions in the world, both emerging recently and accompanying humanity from time immemorial.

Ethnicity itself is valuable even in the context of universal globalization and unification. Each person is unique in itself, and everyone has the right to his own opinion. What to say about whole groups of people, especially if they have unique features.

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