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African Social Science Review

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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