Normally, I’m not a big fan of lists based on sociopolitical groups. For those who don’t know the term, it means groups that are related based on social or political identities–as compared to ethnolinguistic groups who share a common ethnicity or language.
Examples of ethnolinguistic groups include the Pashtun, the Beja, or Mandarin-speakers. Examples of sociopolitical groups include taxi drivers in New York, the royal family of England, or football players from Latin America.
The main reason I’m not fond of lists of sociopolitical groups is that there really isn’t any end to them – we can just keep subdividing. But there’s only so many languages spoken (and fewer all the time, actually).
However, just because I don’t like lists of sociopolitical groups doesn’t mean you can’t have a strategy for reaching a specific group, and sometimes that’s a great idea.
Take the 1._ billion Han Chinese. You can’t really say, “I’m focused on Mandarin-speaking Chinese”–well, you could, but your strategy isn’t going to be reach them all. You’re going to focus on a niche. And that niche is going to be a sociopolitical group of some kind.
It may be that you are focused on Beijing urbanites. Or it may be that you’re focused on Chinese in Vancouver or Washington DC or London. Or, you may be focused on a specific social group–for example, the children left behind when parents go to work in “the big city.”
If you have a definable sociopolitical group, in which you know the “boundaries” of the group, then you can measure your effectiveness within that group (as well as the demographic growth rate of the group). That’s key to any strategy.
So, while I don’t think we should be making lists of sociopolitical groups–it’s a big enough research job to come up with lists of ethnolinguistic groups–I do think they’re a valuable strategic focus. Aim for a group that’s about 100,000 in size–and then get busy reaching out to them!