Questioning the Validity of Race as a Social Construct: Examining Race and Ethnicity in the ‘Rainbow Nation’

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This article uses South Africa as a the research context to examine whether within each race group ethnic differences exist on national identity and social capital measures.

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20 p.

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Heere, Bob; Walker, Matthew; Gibson, Heather; Thapa, Brijesh; Geldenhuys, Sue & Coetzee, Willie January 2015.

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This article uses South Africa as a the research context to examine whether within each race group ethnic differences exist on national identity and social capital measures.

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20 p.

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Abstract: Governments have historically classified their populations according to race and ethnicity, which has been done to either exert power over minority groups or ensure equality among these groups. However, viewing ones racial identity through a historical lens raises doubts about the validity of race as a social construct, since the concept has seldom served as a strong foundation for social identity formation. As such, we posit that ethnicity is a more accurate predictor of identification than race. Using South Africa as the research context, we examine whether within each race group ethnic differences exist on national identity and social capital measures. Data were collected on race, ethnic identity, national identity, and social capital. Significant differences between ethnic groups within one race group indicate that the current racial classification system in South Africa is open for distortions of how the South African people feel about their nation.

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  • African Social Science Review, 2014. Houston, TX: Texas Southern University

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  • Publication Title: African Social Science Review
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 1
  • Page Start: 24
  • Page End: 43
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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  • January 2015

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  • Sept. 24, 2018, 1:56 p.m.

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Heere, Bob; Walker, Matthew; Gibson, Heather; Thapa, Brijesh; Geldenhuys, Sue & Coetzee, Willie. Questioning the Validity of Race as a Social Construct: Examining Race and Ethnicity in the ‘Rainbow Nation’, article, January 2015; Houston, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1248369/: accessed January 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Business.