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Original scientific paper

Different Socio-Historical Types of Ethnicity

Emil Heršak ; Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb, Croatia

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page 335-363

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The paper begins with the concept that ethnicity, despite common traits, expresses itself in differing types which potentiate (emphasize) certain dominant traits. The authors postulate at least three general types of ethnicity: first, tentatively, the “Jewish” type, second the “French” type, third the “Hunic-Turkic” type. In the “Jewish” type ethnicity receives its basic impulse and significance through religion, which overrides (compensates) the territorial-political spheres. In the “French” type the territorial-political dimension is crucial. The “Hunic-Turkic” type is transitional, and characterised by a high degree of ethnic fluidity. After describing these three ethnic types, the author attempts to apply them to certain ethnicities in Europe and the world. An analysis of some other possible ethnic types (“ethnicities per se” and minority ethnicities) follows. In the second part of the paper, using material from the social and political history of the South Slavs, the author com¬pares the Croat ethnicity with the “French” type, and the Serb ethnicity with the “Jewish” version (with sub-ethnic elements of the “Hunic-Turkic” type). Croats first developed in an early medieval state, whose legacy was maintained – despite certain discontinuities – till the present. A similar de¬velopment began among the Serbs, yet after full loss of statehood, their ethnicity was preserved primarily through a “national” church. Yet this distinction in the Croatian and Serbian cases was not always consistent. During the Ottoman occupation, in certain parts of the Croatian ethnie, a religious type of ethnicity developed (i.e. “Catholicism on the border”), while among the Serbs, pa¬rallel with the expulsion of the Othomans, a revival of the state-territorial type of ethnicity occurred.


ethnicity, ethnic types, ethnie, Croats, Serbs

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