chapter  2
19 Pages

Defining and measuring ethnicity and ‘race’: theoretical and conceptual issues for health and social care research


The exploration of ethnicity and ‘race’ raises a number of definitional and measurement issues about what ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’ are, how they relate to each other and how they relate to wider social and economic circumstances and experiences. In particular, there are debates as to how far the characteristics ascribed to particular ‘ethnic’/‘race’ groups signify group differences in innate biological or genetic ability, culture, social and economic power, or a combination of these, and even how far these may be considered ‘groups’ at all. This chapter seeks to explore the range of approaches to the definition of ‘ethnicity’, the theories underpinning them and their implications for measurement, analysis and interpretation.