Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (3):325-344 (2011)

Ernesto Velasquez
University of Dayton
What is ethnicity and how does it inform the way we understand ethical and political issues involving ethnic change and ethnically conscious public policies? Jorge J. E. Gracia put forth what he calls his ‘Familial-Historical View’ of ethnicity in which Hispanic identity is understood in terms of history and family resemblances. He criticizes what he calls the ‘Common-Bundle View’ of ethnicity which understands ethnic belonging in terms of an essence. I defend two negative theses which lead to the outlines of a positive thesis: (1) Gracia’s arguments against the Common-Bundle View are not effective; (2) the Familial-Historical View is inadequate because it downplays the essential role that cultural phenomena play in making Hispanic history ethnically relevant to Hispanic identity. As a way of building on the Common-Bundle View I sketch a reformulation that avoids Gracia’s criticisms and is more politically and ethically effective than his family resemblance view of ethnicity
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DOI 10.1177/0191453710389446
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