I quite like Taeku Lee‘s identity points. It encourages people with multiple identities to declare them more reliably than other methods. So when I had the chance to set questions on a survey in multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, the question had to be on it. Alas, it didn’t make it beyond the pilot.
There were 50 individuals in the pilot, and only 4 of them chose more than one identity. The other 46 put all their identity points into one identity.
As we were under pressure to shorten the survey, and the survey wasn’t really about identity, we did not pursue identity points any further. What I really would like to know is what the result would have been in 1991 before the war, but that’s something we’ll never know. Or perhaps someone will one day run a survey using identity points for children of mixed descent in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In any case, Bosnia and Herzegovina is obviously a special case, and it illustrates how entrenched ethnic identities can/have become in a place otherwise noted for its diversity.
Lee, T. 2009. “Between Social Theory and Social Science Practice: Toward a New Approach to the Survey Measurement of ‘Race’.” In Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists, edited by R. Abdelal, Y. Herrera, A. Johnston, and R. McDermott. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.