To be human is to have an identity. Indeed, it is what ethnicity is about. However, as a theoretical or methodological prescription for ethnic studies, as advocated by Hatfield, identity is inadequate even within the categories he has specified. Hatfield seems to be asking theoretical analysts to do what artists, novelists, and philosophers do best because they explore the existential and phenomenological aspects of ethnic identity in depth and usually with greater authenticity. This does not mean that there is no need for self-discovery and understanding in ethnic studies. There are equally pressing non-identity issues with which ethnic studies must also deal. Ethnic studies should be concerned with economics, for instance, with power or lack thereof. It should also be concerned with the analysis of public policies that impinge on ethnic and minority groups.
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Research Article| January 01 1986
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Jonathan A. Majak; Critique [of Identity as Theory and Method for Ethnic Studies by John Hatfield]. Explorations in Ethnic Studies 1 January 1986; 9 (1): 11–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ees.19184.108.40.206
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