Brubaker, Loveman & Stamatov (2004) -Race, ethnicity, and nationality are constructed through cognition. They exist only in and through our perceptions, interpretations, representations, classifications, categorizations, and identifications. They are not things in the word, but perspectives on the world—not ontological but epistemological realities. The cognitive processes and mechanisms underlying these ways of seeing are identical throughout the larger domain. The processes of classification and categorization, formal and informal, that divide "us" from "them"; the forms of social closure that depend on categorizing and excluding certain potential competitors as "outsiders"; the categories and frames in terms of which social comparison and social explanation are organized; the schemas, scripts, and cultural models that allow one to perceive, experience, or interpret situations and sequences of action in standardized racial, ethnic, or national terms; the cognitive biases in the retrieval and processing of information that lead us to evaluate evidence in selective ways that tend to confirm prior expectations and strengthen stereotypes—all of these and many more cognitive and socio-cognitive mechanisms and processes are involved in essentially similar forms in phenomena conventionally coded as belonging to distinct domains of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.
Brubaker, Loveman, Stamatov (2004) - A cognitive perspective focuses our analytic lens on how people see the world, parse their experience, and interpret events. This raises a different and broader set of questions about racial, ethnic, and national categorization. The relevant questions are not only about how people get classified, but about how gestures, utterances, situations, events, states of affairs, actions, and sequences of actions get classified (and thereby interpreted and experienced). The questions, in short, are about seeing the world and interpreting social experience, not simply about classifying social actors, in ethnic terms. The schema concept can help elucidate and concretize this notion of ethnic "ways of seeing."