This article questions the assumption that shared culture, or affiliation to shared cultural symbols, is necessarily a source of social cohesion, and that ethnic divisions are associated specifically with perceptions or attributions of difference. I argue that shared cultural symbolism can give rise to competition over its ownership or use, and that this competition can play an important role in defining ethnic boundaries, by creating what might be called relationships of conflictual resemblance between the two sides. Such conflicts are analogous in a number of respects to disputes over the ownership and use of commercial trademarks, and reveal the same underlying conceptions of `proprietary' identity.
|Journal||Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2002|