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Meta-ethnicity is a relatively recent term (or neologism) occasionally used in academic literature or public discourse on ethnic studies. It describes a level of commonality that is wider ("meta-") and more general (i.e., might differ on specifics) than ethnicity, but does not necessarily correspond to (and may actually transcend) nation or nationality.

An early use—possibly the first published in English—was an article in a 1984 USSR Academy of Sciences publication discussing identity in Asia and Africa.[1]

Examples of use[edit]

Some other examples:

  • "Against this dominant view of the nature of the Indian state, Singh argues that India should be seen as an 'ethnic democracy' in which Hinduism works as a meta-ethnicity and in which hegemonic control is exercised over ethnic minorities, particularly those living in the peripheral regions."[2]
  • "L. Byzov, however, believes that 'there has taken place within the Russian national consciousness one of the most radical changes ever: from a meta-ethnic sense of identity to a strictly ethnic identity' (Byzov 1996, 45)."[3]
  • "Geoffrey Fox, on the other hand, argues that 'Hispanic', with its emphasis on Spanish-language heritage as the foundation of meta-ethnicity, has no implied racial or class agendas and is simply preferred by most immigrants from Latin America." ... "Furthermore, these split-level processes of identity formation—the forging of ethnicity and meta-ethnicity—take place in regional contexts of unequal ethnic control over media and symbol systems."[4]
  • Peter Turchin introduces the concept "metaethnic frontier theory" in his 2003 book, Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall[5]
  • "At the beginning of the new century, Chinese people are living the construction of a metaethnicity of multiple identities."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brook, Solomon, and Nikolai Cheboksarov. 1984. "Metaethnic Identities in Asia and Africa." In Ethnocultural Development of African Countries. Moscow: USSR Academy of Sciences. Pp. 49-73.
  2. ^ Lamba, Puniit Singh. "The Sikh Times - Book Reviews - New Perspectives on Sikh Studies". Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  3. ^ Agadjanian, Alexander. 2001. "Religious pluralism and national identity in Russia." MOST Journal on Multicultural Societies, Vol. 2, No. 2 (note 19)
  4. ^ Davis, Mike. 1999. "Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US Big City." New Left Review I/234, March-April 1999
  5. ^ Turchin, Peter (2003). Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691116693. 
  6. ^ Hussain, Imtiaz (2004). Tyranny of Soft Touches: Interculturalism, Multiculturalism, and 21st Century International Relations. Universidad Iberoamericana. ISBN 9789688595381. 

External links[edit]