In Pursuit of Development

How industrialization reshapes modern ethnic identities — Elliott Green

Episode Summary

Dan Banik and Elliott Green discuss why ethnicity is sometimes used interchangeably with race, how identities are negotiated, and the role of the state in promoting ethnic homogenization in Turkey, United States, New Zealand, Somalia, Uganda, Botswana and South Africa.

Episode Notes

One of the most important factors explaining ethnic change in the modern world is industrialization, which has resulted in significant changes in the way we live and work, including changes in migration patterns and social structures. As people move from rural areas to urban centers, they may find themselves interacting with others from very different cultural backgrounds and must therefore adapt to new social norms and customs.

Elliott Green is Professor of Development Studies in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. In his recent book — Industrialization and Assimilation: Understanding Ethnic Change in the Modern World — he provides a new framework to understand the origins of modern ethnic identities. Elliott explains how and why ethnicity changes across time, showing that, by altering the basis of economic production from land to labour, industrialization makes societies more ethnically homogenous. By lowering the relative value of rural land, industrialization results in people identifying less with narrow rural identities in favour of broader identities that can help them navigate the formal urban economy. Twitter: @ElliottDGreen

Key highlights:


Professor Dan Banik (Twitter: @danbanik  @GlobalDevPod)

Apple Google Spotify YouTube