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Postscript: Reconsidering the dynamics of ethnicity through Foucault's concept of 'spaces of dispersion'

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Chapter Summary

In most studies of ethnicity, basic complementarities are assumed to exist in the formulation of identities, whether one considers ethnic groups individually or in the framework of their interactions with each other. Indeed, the latter context in many ways delimits definitions of the former. In both cases, the notion of ethnic category is the focal point of analysis. The aim of this chapter is to challenge the proposition by privileging the dynamics of networks rather than cultural differences in an attempt to understand the social coherency of multi-ethnic spaces, and to oppose such ethnic presuppositions to the notion of “spaces of dispersion”, as suggested by Michel Foucault.

Keywords: Edmund Leach; ethnicity; Michel Foucault



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