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How have ideas about race been shaped by changing economic, social and political circumstances - Essay Example

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The concept of race has been shaped by evolving social, political and economic circumstances that have occurred on a global scale over an elongated period of time. Many people in society deem that race and ethnicity are one in the same and can be discussed interchangeably,…
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How have ideas about race been shaped by changing economic, social and political circumstances
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Download file to see previous pages Those who belong to a particular ethnic group maintain shared cultural heritages, language, social ideologies, religions, rituals and biological ancestry (Peoples and Bailey 2010). By applying a definition to ethnicity, society is able to make distinctions between different social groups.
Race, however, is a construct that is absolutely considerate of anatomical attributes. Race is defined by Cornell and Hartman (2007) as the method by which groups are able to define themselves through the commonality of physical attributes that are shared biologically throughout a society or culture. Race is determined by the meaning that is placed on these shared characteristics. People who share common physical features determine which specific attributes are significant and then attempt to organise groups according to a perceived set of boundaries and then develop social ideologies that give the aforementioned boundaries or characterisation a relevant meaning which serves as the foundation for race. Hence, race is very much a social creation whilst ethnicity is more concerned with the tangible similarities of a particular group.
Race serves to mould the social and political methodologies by which the world is classified and organised. The concept of race was formed in global and regional cultures as a product of various socio-political systems that recognised denial and opportunity (Dalmage 2010). Race has become substantially rooted in the structures that guide societies, a form of institutionalisation of perceived human value and relevancy constructed through centuries of changing economic, political and social circumstances.
The conception of race as a social interpretation is ever-changing and the meanings and values assigned to various races evolve when it becomes advantageous to those maintaining power within a society. Those who represent dominant groups, such as the European whites in the 17th Century, often assign race to less-advantaged groups as a method ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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