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Ethnicity and Aboriginality

Ethnicity and Aboriginality: Case Studies in Ethnonationalism

Edited by Michael D. Levin
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 196
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  • Book Info
    Ethnicity and Aboriginality
    Book Description:

    Ethnonationalism is a phenomenon of great importance in many parts of the world today. In this collection of papers, nine distinguished anthropologists focus on Canadian and international case studies to show how ethnonational claims of cultural groups have been expressed and developed in specific historical and political situations.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2318-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Population Studies, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)
    Michael D. Levin

    The ideal of a state for every people is a prime mover in late twentieth-century politics. In uniting in one concept a goal of such apparent simplicity and an ideal of universal application, it has achieved an incomparable capacity to capture the popular imagination and to promise a satisfying national autonomy. This capacity is matched only by the intractability of ethnonational issues and the elusiveness of solutions on the ground. At this ground level where different groups and nations have formed their sense of nationalism and framed their aspirations and goals, considerable variation of origin and form is evident. Only...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Ethnonationalism, Aboriginal Identities, and the Law
    (pp. 9-28)
    Patrick Macklem

    In an influential article entitled ‘The Politics of Ethnonationalism,’ Walker Connor notes a growing tendency among individuals and groups to link political legitimacy with ethnic identity. The principle of national self-determination, premised upon the acceptance of such a linkage, is the legal and political counterpart to what Connor coins ethnonationalism: namely, the belief that ‘political institutions and borders [ought] to conform with the best interests of the ethnic group’ (Connor 1973: 2). In Connor’s view, two elements set the stage for the introduction of ethnonationalism to the ideological politics of a contemporary state. The first is a ‘self-awareness of the...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Aboriginal Self-Government and Canadian Constitutional Identity: Building Reconciliation
    (pp. 29-52)
    Michael Asch

    Canadians are at a pivotal moment in our constitutional history. Notwithstanding views by Premier Rae (1990) and others that the economy or some other issue is the number one priority in the minds of voters, now is the time when we must begin to act on resolving the crisis of community that besets us.

    The crisis of community is itself a crisis in our constitutional approach to resolving one major dilemma of the modern nation-state: the relationship between the collective political rights of minority collectivities with political rights based on the principle of majority rule. At the same moment we...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Self-Determination, National Pressure Groups, and Australian Aborigines: The National Aboriginal Conference 1983–1985
    (pp. 53-74)
    Sally M. Weaver

    After World War I, when the idea of ‘the self-determination of nations’ was popularized by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, indigenous peoples in Western democracies tried to establish national political organizations to promote their interests to their respective nation-states. But it was not until the post-World War II period that the nationalistic movements of ‘Fourth World’ peoples took firmer hold. The movements rejected the historical control by the colonizing agencies and, under the banner of self-determination, sought the power and freedom to define themselves as distinct peoples – culturally different from the immigrant societies that surrounded them –...

  9. CHAPTER 4 History and Culture in the Generation of Ethnic Nationalism
    (pp. 75-96)
    Adrian Tanner

    In 1989–90 a British television series was in production that dealt with indigenous peoples in different parts of the world, but, unlike previous television collections of ethnographic documentaries, the point of the series was not to draw attention to indigenous peoples who are disappearing, but to those who are actively resisting threats to their autonomy. The single Canadian example in the series was the Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi Indians)¹ and their campaign of opposition to low-level military flight training, which is being conducted by several European nato states over their unceded land in Labrador and adjacent Quebec. This case seems to...

  10. CHAPTER 5 From Indigene to International: The Many Faces of Malay Identity
    (pp. 97-110)
    Judith Nagata

    In this paper I dissect one ethnonational formation into two complementary parts. The first relates to the status and claims of an ethnic community within a state, in political dialogue with other local communities. The second has to do with the world beyond the state, with the image which ethnic groups like to project to a more international audience, for recognition and credibility. It can be shown for some ethnic communities at least that the composite cultural and ideological portrait and identity which distinguishes the group domestically is not necessarily identical to that by which it is recognized in more...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Ethnic Profile, Historical Processes, and the Cultural Identity Crisis among Quebeckers of French Descent
    (pp. 111-126)
    Marc-Adélard Tremblay

    The idea of making an ethnological analysis of the cultural identity crisis among Quebeckers of French descent seems to be well suited for a colloquium entitled ‘Ethnonationalism: Canadian and International Perspective.’ I want to do it from a development perspective. The close relationships that exist between cultural identity and societal development are of such importance that they justify both the nature and the orientations of such a theoretical stand. Some of these justifications are, from the standpoint of the vital interests of a particular ethnic group, related to the concept of its development (or of its social progress) and to...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Ethnonationalism and Nationalism Strategies: The Case of the Avalogoli in Western Kenya
    (pp. 127-153)
    Judith M. Abwunza

    To overcome revolutionary potential in the context of nation-building, often the national self-determination rights of ethnic groups appear to be subsumed in the rhetoric, ‘for the betterment of all.’ In the case of Kenya, where ethnic groups proliferate, this subsumption takes place through the political production of a national ideology,nyayoism, and is enforced by laws against ‘tribalism’ or ‘political ethnicity.’ As well, a legitimization of Kenya’s one-party form of national government is based on efforts to overcome ‘coups and chaos’ stemming from ‘ethnic alliances and sub-national factions’ (Moi 1986: 179). The hegemonic sentiment through edicts for nationalism and against...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Biafra and Bette: Ethnonationalism and Self-Determination in Nigeria
    (pp. 154-167)
    Michael D. Levin

    Nigeria, one of those great federal creations of British imperialism, is usually described as a nation divided into three ethnic groups: the Igbo, the Hausa–Fulani, and the Yoruba. The conception of Nigeria as being composed of three dominant peoples whose relations determine the politics and the peace of the country is the one most commonly known abroad and is also dominant in the Nigerian popular press.

    This image of a nation of three ‘tribes’ is a tribute to the power of administrative structures to create symbols. To reduce a cultural reality of at least 200 groups, linguistic or ethnic,...

  14. CHAPTER 9 Ethnicity and Aboriginality: Conclusions
    (pp. 168-180)
    Michael D. Levin

    It is clear from these papers that ethnonationalism is not a unitary phenomenon despite similarities in the language and the form of conflicts it engenders. Two common views of ethnonational politics as either very simple (special pleading concerned only with parochial interests) or complex (with an overwhleming number of clamouring groups each seeking advantage) are both caricatures of the issues. The cases in the present collection fall into neither extreme, but illustrate certain features of ethnonationalism that have depth and complexity. The language of ethnonationalism, for example, places the ethnic group within the state and variously structures the debate in...

  15. Contributors
    (pp. 181-181)