have a better suggestion?
So what are the new terms being use by modern anthropologists?
no terms just genetics. the problem is that the average person doesn't understand them.. you mention haplogroups and they get confused.. which is why categorizations are popular.. they simplify complicated information into broad containers, even though the reality is that things are not so easily clear cut. Sure, it is obvious a Korean and Malaysian have obvious differences, but places such as Korea and Japan which are relatively homogeneous may be easily categorized, the reality is that many areas, such as Central Asia and South East Asia which have long been crossroads for migrating populations, are much more heterogeneous and difficult to define. Categories are also used by those who seek to explain what one is unfamiliar with. Take for example "Mongoloids" a category created by Europeans. At first they applied it to all Asians, from Siberia all the way down to Indonesia. As time went by, they realized that ethnic groups in modern day Malaysia and Indonesia were somehow different.. some of them separated them into a new category called Australoids. Around WWII, Germans and British then started new terms such as Tungusids, etc.. even though such categories reflect more linguistic categorization than racial/ethnic ones. For some time now, such mass and broad terms have dropped out of use by most academics, who prefer to use genetic data, but again, the average person tries to simplify such data.. for example the supposed Cohen gene which people use to measure Jewishness based on some markers in haplogroup J. They will ignore all the other genetic background and focus on those sole markers as indicative of Jewishness, despite the fact that neighboring Arabs and other populations also share the same markers.
In order to understand why this entire thread on categories fails, you can read Robert Brubakers articles on ethnicity such as 2002 Ethnicity with out groups, or Brubaker & Coppers 2000 article Beyond identity.
F science concepts would seem as basic, even indispensable,
as that of group. In disciplinary terms, ‘group’ would appear
to be a core concept for sociology, political science, anthropology,
demography and social psychology. In substantive terms, it would seem
to be fundamental to the study of political mobilization, cultural identity,
economic interests, social class, status groups, collective action,
kinship, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, multiculturalism, and minorities
of every kind.
Yet despite this seeming centrality, the concept ‘group’ has remained
curiously unscrutinized in recent years.There is, to be sure, a substantial
social psychological literature addressing the concept (Hamilton et al.
, McGrath ), but this has had little resonance outside that
sub-discipline. Elsewhere in the social sciences, the recent literature
addressing the concept ‘group’ is sparse, especially by comparison with
the immense literature on such concepts as class, identity, gender, ethnicity,
or multiculturalism—topics in which the concept ‘group’ is
implicated, yet seldom analyzed its own terms (). ‘Group’ functions as
a seemingly unproblematic, taken-for-granted concept, apparently in no
need of particular scrutiny or explication. As a result, we tend to take for
granted not only the concept ‘group’, but also ‘groups’—the putative
things-in-the-world towhich the concept refers.
Challenges to ‘groupism’, however, have been uneven. They have
been striking—to take just one example—in the study of class, especially
in the study of the working class, a term that is hard to use today without
quotation marks or some other distancing device. Yet ethnic groups
continue to be understood as entities and cast as actors. To be sure,
constructivist approaches of one kind or another are now dominant in
academic discussions of ethnicity. Yet everyday talk, policy analysis,
media reports, and even much ostensibly constructivist academic writing
routinely frame accounts of ethnic, racial and national conflict in
groupist terms as the struggles ‘of’ ethnic groups, races, and nations ().
Somehow, when we talk about ethnicity, and even more so when we talk
about ethnic conflict, we almost automatically find ourselves talking
about ethnic groups.
Now it might be asked: ‘What’s wrong with this?’ After all, it seems
to be mere common sense to treat ethnic struggles as the struggles of
ethnic groups, and ethnic conflict as conflict between such groups. I
agree that this is the—or at least a—common-sense view of the matter.
But we cannot rely on common sense here. Ethnic common sense—the
tendency to partition the social world into putatively deeply constituted,
quasi-natural intrinsic kinds (Hirschfeld )—is a key part of what we
want to explain, not what we want to explain things with; it belongs to
our empirical data, not to our analytical toolkit (). Cognitive anthropologists
and social psychologists have accumulated a good deal of evidence
about common-sense ways of carving up the social world—about
what Lawrence Hirschfeld () has called ‘folk sociologies’. The evidence
suggests that some common sense social categories—and notably
common sense ethnic and racial categories—tend to be essentializing
and naturalizing (Rothbart and Taylor ; Hirschfeld ; Gil-
White ). They are the vehicles of what has been called a ‘participants’
primordialism’ (Smith : ) or a ‘psychological essentialism’
(Medin ). We obviously cannot ignore such common sense
primordialism. But that does not mean we should simply replicate it in
our scholarly analyses or policy assessments. As ‘analysts of naturalizers’,
we need not be ‘analytic naturalizers’ (Gil-White : ).
Instead, we need to break with vernacular categories and commonsense
understandings.We need to break, for example, with the seemingly
obvious and uncontroversial point that ethnic conflict involves conflict
between ethnic groups. I want to suggest that ethnic conflict—or what
might better be called ethnicized or ethnically framed conflict—need
not, and should not, be understood as conflict between ethnic groups, just
as racial or racially framed conflict need not be understood as conflict
between races, or nationally framed conflict as conflict between nations.
Participants, of course, regularly do represent ethnic, racial and
national conflict in such groupist, even primordialist terms. They often
cast ethnic groups, races or nations as the protagonists—the heroes and
martyrs—of such struggles. But this is no warrant for analysts to do so.
We must, of course, take vernacular categories and participants’
understandings seriously, for they are partly constitutive of our objects
of study. But we should not uncritically adopt categories of ethnopolitical
practice as our categories of social analysis. Apart from the general unreliability
of ethnic common sense as a guide for social analysis, we should
remember that participants’ accounts—especially those of specialists in
ethnicity such as ethnopolitical entrepreneurs, who, unlike nonspecialists,
may live ‘off’ as well as ‘for’ ethnicity—often have what Pierre
Bourdieu has called a performative character. By invoking groups, they
seek to evoke them, summon them, call them into being. Their categories
are for doing—designed to stir, summon, justify, mobilize, kindle and
energize. By reifying groups, by treating them as substantial things-inthe-
world, ethnopolitical entrepreneurs may, as Bourdieu notes,
‘contribute to producing what they apparently describe or designate’
(a: ) ().
Reification is a social process, not simply an intellectual bad habit. As
a social process, it is central to the practice of politicized ethnicity. And
appropriately so. To criticize ethnopolitical entrepreneurs for reifying
ethnic groups would be a kind of category mistake. Reifying groups is
precisely what ethnopolitical entrepreneurs are in the business of doing.
When they are successful, the political fiction of the unified group can be
momentarily yet powerfully realized in practice. As analysts, we should
certainly try to account for the ways in which—and conditions under
which—this practice of reification, this powerful crystallization of
group feeling, can work. This may be one of the most important tasks of
the theory of ethnic conflict. But we should avoid unintentionally doubling
or reinforcing the reification of ethnic groups in ethnopolitical practice
with a reification of such groups in social analysis.
We need to rethink not only ethnic conflict, but also what we mean by
ethnicity itself.This is not a matter of seeking agreement on a definition.
The intricate and ever-recommencing definitional casuistry in studies of
ethnicity, race and nationalism has done little to advance the discussion,
and indeed can be viewed as a symptom of the non-cumulative nature of
research in the field. It is rather a matter of critically scrutinizing our
conceptual tools. Ethnicity, race and nation should be conceptualized
not as substances or things or entities or organisms or collective
individuals—as the imagery of discrete, concrete, tangible, bounded and
enduring ‘groups’ encourages us to do—but rather in relational, processual,
dynamic, eventful and disaggregated terms. This means thinking
of ethnicity, race and nation not in terms of substantial groups or
entities but in terms of practical categories, cultural idioms, cognitive
schemas, discursive frames, organizational routines, institutional forms,
political projects and contingent events. It means thinking of ethnicization,
racialization and nationalization as political, social, cultural and psychological
processes. And it means taking as a basic analytical category not
the ‘group’ as an entity but groupness as a contextually fluctuating
conceptual variable. Stated baldly in this fashion, these are of course
mere slogans; I will try to fill them out a bit inwhat follows.
The reality of ethnicity
To rethink ethnicity, race and nationhood along these lines is in no
way to dispute their reality, minimize their power or discount their
significance; it is to construe their reality, power and significance in a
different way. Understanding the reality of race, for example, does not
require us to posit the existence of races. Racial idioms, ideologies, narratives,
categories and systems of classification and racialized ways of
seeing, thinking, talking and framing claims are real and consequential,
especially when they are embedded in powerful organizations. But the
reality of race—and even its overwhelming coercive power in some
settings—does not depend on the existence of ‘races’. Similarly, the
reality of ethnicity and nationhood—and the overriding power of ethnic
and national identifications in some settings—does not depend on the
existence of ethnic groups or nations as substantial groups or entities.