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Definitions of Culture, Ethnicity & Diversity

Canadian Multiculturalism
This document by Michael Dewing and Laurence Brosseau of the Social Affairs Division of the Parliamentary and Information Research Service, gives a historical overview of what is meant by multiculturalism from a Canadian perspective and includes public policies  at the federal and provincial levels, as well as, Canadians’ attitudes to multiculturalism. Also included are the dispositions of parliamentary acts which were proposed to support multiculturalism.  It concludes with a chronology of federal policies on multiculturalism as well as selected references. The document, which was last updated in 2009, is also available in French

Definition and operationalization of ethnicity from a Canadian context
This paper provides a critical review of Canadian studies on ethnicity and mental health with respect to the definition, conceptualization and operationalization of ethnicity. It provides a discussion on the methodological issues related to these factors and their implications to guide future research and enable comparability of results across studies. Sociological Abstracts, PsycINFO, MEDLINE and CINAHL were used to identify relevant Canadian articles published between January 1980 and December 2004. The review highlights a number of key issues for future researchers to consider including the need for:

  1. Clear rationales as to why ethnicity is important to their outcome of interest;
  2. Clarity on the definition of ethnicity, which affects its conceptualization and operationalization;
  3. A theoretically driven conceptualization of ethnicity, which should be related to the research question of interest; and
  4. Clear rationales for the decisions made regarding the data source used, the operationalization of ethnicity, and the ethnic categories included in their studies.

[Clarke, D. E., Colantonio, A., Rhodes, A. E., & Escobar, M. (2008). Ethnicity and mental health: Conceptualization, definition and operationalization of ethnicity from a Canadian context. Chronic Diseases in Canada, 28(4), 143-165.]

Definition and Dimensions of Ethnicity: A Theoretical Framework
This is a theoretical paper which, in addition to reviewing approaches to the study of ethnicity over several years, presents definitions of  ethnicity, ethnic, identity, ethnic groups and forms of ethnic identity and how these may change over time. From the Government of Canada Publications website: This volume is a record of the Joint Canada-United States Conference on the measurement of ethnicity in 1992. It is organized into two sections: The first summarizes presentations, working group sessions and the open discussion; the second part includes the full text of all the invited papers.