Definitions

meta phrase

Meta-ethnicity

Meta-ethnicity is a relatively recent term (or neologism) that arises occasionally in academic literature or public discourse, and when it does, seems to be an attempt to describe a level of commonality that is wider and more general (i.e., might differ on specifics) than ethnicity, but does not necessarily correspond to (and may actually transcend) nation or nationality.

Some 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." (Jodhka 2001)
  • "We also know that demographically by the year 2050 less than one in two Americans will be a white Euro-American. There has even been talk of a kind of meta-ethnicity or post-ethnicity. That is to say that intermarriage, mix, birth-rate, etc. will lead to not one, nor two or even three ethnicities feeding into people’s make-up, but many more." (Lee in interview with Williams n.d.)
  • "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)." (Agadjanian 2001, note 19)
  • "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." (Davis 1999)
  • Peter Turchin introduces the concept "metaethnic frontier theory" in his 2003 book, Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall

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