The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.


Takezawa, Shoichiro
Race/ Nation/ Imperialism: Development of Racial
Anthropology in 19th Century France and its Criticism
Zhang, Yuling
The Process of Identity Formation among the Chinese
Overseas in Japan: Analysis of Their Life Histories
Shnirelman, Victor A.
Politics of Ethnogenesis in the USSR and after

Race/ Nation/ Imperialism:
Development of Racial Anthropology in 19th Century France and its Criticism
Shoichiro Takezawa

19th Century France saw the development of the Paris Anthropological Society, directed by the world famous anatomist Paul Broca. The anthropology advocated by this society is now defined as racial anthropology, its main objective being to measure the body parts of all races in order to characterize and rank them according to their supposed intellectual ability, inferred from the measurements. This society had a strong influence not only on national/ international scientific societies, but on public opinion in the West through these societies. Its success may be explained by the fact that it could furnish a simplified but relatively coherent view of the world and of humanity to the masses who emerged in the 19th century and were not satisfied with the old Biblical world view.
During the French Third Republic that began after the defeat of France by the Prussian army, the society contributed to the construction of a kind of imperialism that might be called Republican Imperialism. This Imperialism implies an absolute inequality between the metropolitan countries, where republican principles such as liberty and equity were applied to all members of the Nation State, and the colonies, where these principles were totally abrogated. In formulating this imperialism, the Paris Anthropological Society played an indispensable role, by offering a scientific basis to legitimize discrimination against colonized/colored peoples, whom it demonstrated to be of inferior race.
In the last decade of the 19th century, Durkheim, the founder of the emerging French sociological school, criticized the application to sociological studies of the evolutionary method that was linked to racial anthropology. Durkheim made every effort to elaborate and consolidate a new sociology. This attempted to establish some constitutive principles of society which could open a new field of social/cultural studies, distinct from that of the racial anthropology which had been dominant through the 19th century. But, in overestimating the integrating mechanisms of a society, Durkheim’s sociology did not succeed in elaborating a method that could overcome the racial thinking destined to divide peoples by ranking them.
The cultural/social anthropology that has been shaped more or less under the influence of Durkheimian sociology must be reshaped in order to find a new approach to our world, divided as it is by borderlines such as race/nation/culture.
Key Words: Racial Anthropology, 19th Century France, history of anthropology, Broca, Durlheim

The Process of Identity Formation among the Chinese Overseas in Japan:
Analysis of Their Life Histories
Yuling Zhang

This paper examines the formation of ethnic boundaries and identities among the Chinese Overseas in Japan through the analysis of their life histories. Nisei (the second generation) and Sansei (the third generation) were born in different periods and vary in their philosophies. What are their changing views and definitions of Japanese, Chinese and Chinese Overseas, as the Chinese community has been assimilated into Japan? How do they identify themselves? Especially compared to Nisei, what ethnic boundaries have Sansei set in order to establish their identities? This paper will also discuss those who have returned to the Chinese community for various reasons after trying to live as Japanese. How did they recognize the division between Japanese and Chinese Overseas and try to be a member of either community? Lastly, based on the analysis, I will consider the formation of ethnic identities and the meanings of Chinese-ness for Chinese Overseas, as well as the prospects for the Chinese community in Japan.
Key Words: identity formation, Chinese, the second and third generation Chinese Overseas, ethnic boundaries, life history

Politics of Ethnogenesis in the USSR and after
Victor A. Shnirelman*

The ethnic past was effectively used for shaping identities in the USSR where ethnicity was politicized due to ethnic discrimination embedded in the asymmetrical Soviet federal structure. Under severe censorship ethnic rivalry for access to political power and economic resources expressed itself in attempts by local intellectuals to emphasize the special role of their own ethnic groups in history. Being deprived of any personal political freedom people linked their own future with that of their ethno-administrative unit or the political status of their ethnic group. Therefore any changes in ethnic identity or status were very sensitive issues for people. Symbolically this status was bound up with an authentic culture, distinct language and history, and even population size. Discussion of all these issues served as a code language, which was commonly used to discuss the political status of particular ethnic groups and their future prospects. Discussions of what has happened in the remote past also served this sort of language, which could be used to express concerns and anxiety about contemporary issues such as the unjust actions of the authorities, interethnic tensions, territorial losses, and the like. These concerns manifested themselves in hot disputes about the ancestry of contemporary ethnic groups, the localization of their homelands, the size and shape of their former territories, and their ancestors’ glorious feats and outstanding achievements. Ethnogenetic myth is defined as a narrative of ethnic roots, the glorious life of remote ancestors and their feats, the ancient people being represented by a mighty warrior or even culture hero. In this context the history of ethnogenetic studies in the USSR is analyzed.
* Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Key Words: ethnogenesis, ethnopolitics, Soviet Union


The formation of new academic approaches and fields based on multidisciplinary integration was an important characteristic of Soviet ethnography in the 1960s-1980s. Fundamental studies within multi-disciplinary fields provided a chance to improve knowledge concerning the development of various ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, despite ideological restrictions and pressures. Ethnic sociology occupies a special place among those approaches. The development of an original methodology, the organization of widescale complex studies, and the production of important books are among its significant achievements. The progressive impact of ethnic sociology on ethnography has been especially important. Due to the intervention of ethnic sociology, ethnography has first of all overcome its former ignorance of social context and complex social relationships while studying material and spiritual cultures. Secondly, it has begun intensive studies of contemporary ethnic issues and shifted away from its former emphasis on studies of traditional cultures. As a result, ethnography has broken away from its former marginal position as knowledge of traditional cultures rather than as knowledge of human beings and their societies.

Key Words: multi-disciplinary studies, ethnography, sociology, ethnosociology, ethnicity