The religious dimensions of ethnic identities have been under-theorized. In contemporary industrial societies there is a tendency to characterize religiously demarcated groups as 'really' ethnic.This article suggests that the religious content of ethnic boundaries may be more important than might initially be assumed. A religious identification may have specific religious content and assumptions that may cause it to operate in different ways from other identities. Even if identities do not seem primarily religious per se, they may have latent religious dimensions that can become reactivated. Whilst identity conflicts and other social struggles may stimulate the return of the religious, once reactivated, the religious dimensions of identity may take on a logic of their own.Therefore, the article argues that in many contexts there is a two-way relationship between religion and ethnicity. Each can stimulate the other, rather than religion simply playing a supporting role to the ethnic centrepiece.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science