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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVE
By Fred W. Riggs
FIRST DRAFT - JANUARY 1999
NOTE: These recollections focus on my intellectual development and how the different strands in my life's work relate to each other. They are being written while I'm in a hospital bed recuperating from a broken leg. That means I cannot consult documents to verify dates and facts, but ultimately I will fill in the gaps. Moreover, I have promised my family a real autobiography which, I hope, will be an elaboration of materials offered below, including more personal and anecdotal information. As an intellectual rather than a personal history, however, this first draft will take up the following themes:
Chapter headings include:
Note that underlined words and phrases link to related texts, but underlined numbers in brackets permit jumps to the citation for a text -- use the BACK button to return to this text.
Chapter 5 of Riggs Autobiographical Odyssey
THE FOCUS ON ETHNICITY:
and the Emergence of ETHNIC-L
My upbringing in China in the multi-cultural context of Americans in diaspora paved the way for my professional interest in problems of ethnicity. However, it was not until many years later when I started to think and write about ethnicity that I realized Americans abroad are not an ethnic minority.
Students of ethnicity rarely, if ever, write about them, a good sign
that they are not viewed as ethnic. American novelists working abroad often
write about Americans in diaspora, and portray the "natives"
as stereotypical background characters -- an exception was Pearl Buck who
was a member of our Nanking community. Her early work with a focus on Chinese
as real people was rejected by publishers until she met Richard Walsh of
the John Day company, and his willingness to put out The Good Earth
a made a fortune for him and won her a Pulitzer Prize. She and Walsh were
instrumental for my doctoral research as reported in Chapter
Patriate Diasporans as Non-Ethnics
Although Americans in China were non-ethnic, they were indeed a minority, and a very important minority in many ways. However, they were not ethnic because they almost never gave up American citizenship or the expectation that they would return, eventually, to the United States. Actually, in China they could not have become citizens even if they wanted to -- and being born in China did not make me a Chinese citizen.
Ethnicity is often defined by reference to shared cultural practices,
but this is surely inadequate. Isolated primitive communities share a common
culture but could not be viewed as ethnic. To be ethnic, there has to be
cross-cultural contact between different communities interacting with each
other. However, all communities involved in cross-cultural contact are
not ethnic. My own experiences in China made that clear to me, but they
led me to think about different kinds of groups involved in inter-cultural
relations and to ask which ones could properly be thought of as ethnic.
My research on ethnicity has focused on modern forms of ethnicity, but
in order to put the subject into perspective, I want to say something about
interactive cultural communities whom we would not class as ethnic.
First, what should we call communities like the Americans living
in China? If they are not ethnic, what are they. To say they are non-ethnic
scarcely suffices. The word, expatriate is used mainly to refer
to Westerners who choose to remain in a former dependency after it has
become independent, although its dictionary definition makes renunciation
of citizenship a key criterion. At first, I thought we might use patriotic
community or patriots in diaspora to characterize the Americans
in China, but each of .these phrases is misleading. The missionaries, business
men, and journalists whom I knew were not necessarily patriotic. They simply
wanted to retain the privileges of American citizenship and the right to
return home whenever they wanted to. A neologism might be useful: patriate
diaspora, for example, could be used to characterize many Westerners
living overseas. Their numbers are growing, they remain attached to their
homelands to which they usually intend to return. Although they are always
minorities, and often powerfully influential, they are not ethnic.
There are important differences among these patriate diasporas. One
distinction depends on laws governing citizenship. China, like almost all
the countries of the Afro-Eurasian continent, maintain traditions that
restrict citizenship to those whose parents are citizens -- legally, that
involves the jus sanguinis. This rule virtually prohibits anyone
from becoming a naturalized citizen. This means that Americans in China
could not become citizens even if they wanted to. No doubt they are influenced
by their exposure to Chinese life and traditions: "Old China Hands"
are often enthusiastic Sinophiles, and I confess that I am one.
By contrast, in countries formed by colonists, as in the Americas and Australia, jus soli has been added to jus sanguinis. This is the rule that one automatically becomes a citizen by birth in a country. Although I have no statistics, my guess is that American living abroad in countries accepting jus soli are more likely to become ethnicized and acquire citizenship in their hostlands than are those living in countries that only have jus snguinis. Anyone who identifies ethnicity with communities involved in cross-cultural relationships is thinking only of its modern forms. Traditionally, cross-cultural contacts were non-ethnic, but it is useful to distinguish different types. I will comment briefly on conquerors, colonists, and communalists.
Conquerors and Caste
Clearly conquerors in traditional societies would not be classed
as ethnic. Yet they constituted cultural minorities in the countries they
dominated. They typically remained a minority of the population and preserved
their separate and superior status in a caste-like manner. Although
we normally associate Caste with India, its basic principles of inherited
occupations and endogamy were pervasive in traditional civilizations and
remain widespread in the world today. Inter-caste rigidity contrasts with
the social mobility found in the class-oriented societies. -- as I shall
explain more fully below, I see ethnicity as a feature of class-oriented
Even when conquerors came from a class-oriented society, they become a caste as rulers of conquered peoples. Their caste-like status was very conspicuous in India where a network of clubs for the exclusive use of English people became the important and exclusive social centers around which the British ruling class gravitated. The exclusion of Indians from these clubs, except in servile roles, became a politically explosive issue as the nationalist movement grew under the influence of modernization. The rise of contemporary ethnic nationalism challenged the exclusiveness of a dominant minority which had traditionally been accepted as a natural phenomenon.
In India, indeed, the Caste system itself evolved from the dominant
status of Aryan invaders from Central Asia. Caste is a Portuguese
word used by foreigners to describe the traditional Hindu social system.
The word originally meant chaste or pure, and also race and lineage. The
use of this word to characterize the Hindu social system reflected the
dominant role in society played by hereditary groups like the Brahmans
and Kshatriyas who monopolized the leading sacred and military roles and
enforced endogamy to preserve the identity and exclusiveness of their castes.
Merchants and workers were relegated to lower status (Vaisya and Sudra) roles, and unfortunates lacking any social status became outcastes. To maintain their high status as Hindus, the upper castes set strict ritualistic standards for themselves. There were, of course, many wars among rival Hindu states, but they did not involve inter-caste conflict. As in European feudalism, knights belonging to the same caste fought each other, while the rest of the population supported their champions.
When Muslims conquered India, especially under the Mogul rulers,
they formed a super-caste who marginalized all Hindus and violated many
of their sacred rules. Similarly, the Romans conquered a vast empire and
retained their social distinctiveness from conquered peoples -- although
exceptionally, in this Empire, Roman citizenship with its privileges was
granted to some non-Romans. Consider also the Ottomans in the Middle East,
the Tartars in Russia, The Manchus in China, the Spaniards and Portuguese
throughout their empires, and many other examples that may come to mind.
Typically, they retained a kind of dominant caste separation from their
subject peoples. The French conquerors were rather exceptional because
they justified their imperial policies in the name of "civilization"
rather than a racial or religious cause. This made them, I think, more
willing to accept anyone as "French" who accepted their cultural
norms. Nevertheless, in our times, ethnic nationalism triumphed among Francophone
Africans and Vietnamese,
In all these cases, the dominant minorities did not view themselves as "ethnic" even though they constituted a cultural minority. The term ethnic originally conveyed notions of inferiority by contrast with the high status of dominant minorities -- it is a very modern (equalitarian) idea to view all communities involved in cross-cultural contact as ethnic. The high status that conquerors claimed for themselves as a cultural minority was based on casteism rather than ethnicity.
In pre-modern civilizations. where hierarchic norms prevailed, gradations of status associated with the inheritance of citizenship, occupations and endogamy were widely accepted. When invading conquerors dominated a society, local populations had no choice but to accept their own marginalization and a caste-like niche in society. In such caste-like societies, the inheritance of citizenship by jus sanguinis reinforced the inheritance of occupation and the rule of endogamy. One's nationality, like one's caste identity, was determined by birth.
No doubt it was sometimes possible for a marginalized community to escape by flight, as illustrated by the Exodus of Jews from Egypt. Moreover, when empires collapsed, members of a dominant elite often had to make hard choices -- those who survived as expatriates sought to protect as much of their wealth and status as they could, but they were often marginalized, and some no doubt fled to their original homelands.
Colonists and Indigenous Peoples
We need, I think, to distinguish between conquerors and colonists as exemplified by the Europeans who settled North America. Colonists differ from conquerors in the sense that they do not intend to rule over conquered peoples -- rather, they seek new opportunities for themselves by ousting or eliminating the native populations that preceded them. They were originally patriate diasporans who retained strong attachments to their home countries and, indeed, often relied on its support to help them fight and conquer indigenous peoples. Eventually, in most cases, they rebelled against their homelands and created their own new states.
Unlike modern immigrants, they were not ethnics who expected to become integrated with an already established population. Although they sometimes formed alliances with local people to fight rival tribes or colonies, they condemned exogamy and castigated mixed marriages as miscegenation. They maintained sharp occupational distinctions between themselves and what the indigenous people did. The colonists who came to the New World during the 16th century and later were pre-industrial people and, although they espoused equalitarian norms to justify revolution when they broke away from their imperial "Motherlands," they retained a strong caste orientation in relation both to the indigenous peoples and the slaves whom they imported to work for them. When they wrote that "All men are created equal," they had to be thinking that slaves and indigenous people, to say nothing of women, were not men. Thus colonists, no less than conquerors, were migrants who did not see themselves as members of any ethnic community.
As for communalists, like conquerors and colonists, they are produced by migration. They come in a more lowly status, however, to work as merchants and laborers in a subordinate, not a dominant, status. As a researcher in Thailand, I became familiar with polycommunalism, viewing it as a product of imperialism and its exploitation of minorities for economic purposes, especially to promote the marketization of peasant communities, the development of plantations, and the performance of other functions that Europeans wanted to avoid performing, and native peoples would not do. Although they originally established themselves in caste-like social niches without experiencing much violence, under the impact of modernization, they became scapegoats and victims subject to pogroms, and in response, they have adopted a variety of strategies to cope with the new pressures, ranging from support for revolutionary movements to collaboration with the rulers of new states. I have discussed my findings and views on polycommunalism in Chapter 3 and will not say more here -- see .
In the preceding paragraphs I have identified a variety of forms of cross-cultural contact found in virtually all civilizations. Although the word, ethnicity, has been used to characterize all of them, I want to focus here on a new form of ethnicity that has arisen under the impact of modernity -- i.e., the Industrial Revolution, democratization, and nationalism. My experiences in China did not prepare me for them, but I encountered modern ethnicity shortly after I arrived at the University of Illinois: see Chapter 2 . My experiences at the U. of I. helped shape my understanding of ethnicity, by which I shall now mean only "modern ethnicity," by contrast with the ancient forms of cross-cultural interaction discussed above.
A Rude Shock: Experiences in Illlinois
Because of my China background, I made a special effort to become
acquainted with Chinese students at the University and many became good
friends -- one who was especially important in my life was Hung-ti Chu,
my roommate in the Cosmopolitan Club where I lived and became active. This
club was a chapter in an international movement that started at the beginning
of the nineteenth century when it adopted the slogan, "Above All Nations
is Humanity" -- I accepted this motto as my own and now use it on
all my e-mail letters.
The rather utopian hope of the Club's founders was that by getting students from different countries to live and study together at universities around the world, they wold promote peace and mutual understanding. I felt great empathy for this goal and it became a dominant theme in my thinking. My other roommate was Bhagat Singh, a Sikh from India. Both Chu and Singh went on to become Americans and had distinguished careers: Chu as a member of the UN Secretariat, and Singh as a Professor Chemistry. Both married American wives and became fully integrated into American life -- fine examples of ethnic diversity.
However, there were paradoxes in my experiences at the Club that
puzzled and distressed me. The first involved an African-American student
whom I got to know and like. He was the president of a Black fraternity
where I visited him and got to know some of his fraternity brothers. I
thought it would be interesting and useful to introduce him to the Cosmopolitan
Club so I invited him to join us for a Sunday dinner. Although we had members
of different nationalities and races, we had no one who called himself
a "Negro." The Club has become co-educational since I was there,
but in those days it was sexist, having only male members. Perhaps that
was because we all slept together in a large dormitory, and it would have
been impossible, in the 1930s, remember, for boys and girls to share a
dormitory. However, I was not prepared for the reaction that greeted my
plan to invite an African-American to dine with us. Several members protested
vigorously and I remember the explanation they offered which was that they
had enough difficulty dealing with prejudices against foreign students
and they did not want their problems to be aggravated by associating with
To my shame, I backed down and capitulated to this bias. In retrospect, I see that it was not a matter of ethnicity. Rather, it reflected the residue in America of an ancient caste system. As noted above, the basic premise of any class-based society is that individuals are able to rise and fall in status -- poor can become rich and rich may become poor. Everyone is supposed to be treated equitably and their class status should be achieved, not inherited. By contrast, in a caste system, status is hereditary and cannot be changed. Children follow the occupations of their parents and do not intermarry with people in a different caste, nor do they mingle socially with them.
Our ideas about caste are based on what we know about the Indian Caste system, where many ritualistic and social practices are closely linked with Caste identity in that country but are not necessary features of caste. To distinguish the widespread traditional social structures based on the inheritance of occupations and enforced endogamy, I sometimes use caste-like, or just "caste" by contrast with Caste, which refers only to the Indian caste system. Members of different castes typically refuse to dine with each other, though this may not be a necessary feature.
For various reasons, but mainly because of the slave trade which brought many Africans, most unwillingly, to America for a life in slavery, American attitudes toward African-Americans are essentially caste-based, whereas their attitudes toward Europeans and Asians who came to our country voluntarily and wished to became citizens were class-like. In the latter case, although great differences in social status and income might prevail, we are willing to accept members of these minorities socially and dine with them.
At the University, foreign students, including those from Africa, were accorded standing within our class system, and they were characterized by country of origin or ethnicity rather than by racial features. By contrast, anyone belonging to the African-American community was viewed as belonging to a different caste -- intermarriage was viewed as criminal miscegenation, and outlawed in many states. Inter-dining was also forbidden. Even in the cafeteria where students gathered, one might see clumps of black people sitting together and all others mingled at different tables. In American usage, however, this relationship was not understood as caste-based -- rather, it was seen as involving race, although members of different castes often belong to the same race, genetically speaking.
When I invited a Black student to dine with us at the Cosmopolitan Club, therefore, I was violating a deeply ingrained caste system that I did not understand. No doubt, today, in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, all that has changed, and it is reflected in the name change from Black to African-American. We often speak of "race and ethnicity" without any clear understanding of the difference or why members of any community should be characterized by race rather than ethnicity. I now see that race reflects a caste orientation and applies whenever one feels mingling as social equals should be banned. By contrast, ethnicity applies whenever one recognizes cultural differences but feels they are not so important as to prevent intermarriage or class mobility. I see race as a social construction that lacks empirical foundations, but racism persists as a prejudice that continues to plague not only America but other countries where casteism persists in inter-community relationships.
The artificiality of out notions about race was epitomized for me at the University of Illinois by my experience with a good friend, an African-American who enjoyed mingling with "Whites." He found that he could sometimes overcome racial barriers by pretending to be a foreign student. At move theaters in those days, Blacks were required to sit in the balcony and only non-Blacks could sit in the main auditorium. My friend would sometimes wear a turban, or speak with a foreign accent so the box office clerk would permit him to sit among the non-Blacks. His experiences taught me that race is not a matter of skin color, but of social categorization and caste distinctions.
Some years later I came across a counter-example. He was a Tamil from India whose skin color was as dark as that of any African. After experiencing prejudice in America based on racism, he decided to identify himself as a "Black" and he became an activist in the Civil Rights movement. Again, I realized that it was not skin color but social construction that determined attitudes and affected behavior.
A novel, Focus, also influenced my thinking on this subject. It dealt with a Christian personnel manager whose employer required him to deny employment to Jews. He followed instructions and turned down applicants who looked "Jewish." Subsequently, he was fired because, his employer said, he himself looked Jewish. Later he found out that the candidate he had rejected was also not Jewish, and the two teamed up to work with and for Jewish causes, against Antisemitism. To gain acceptance in their new community, they became converts to Judaism and regular members of a Temple. The novel persuaded me that race is not a matter of appearance but of social construction and can lead to destructive conflicts provoked by racists so long as casteism persists.
The Modern Context of Ethnicity
What I learned from these experiences was the difference between ethnicity and non-ethnic phenomena. My own experiences in China as a member of a patriate diaspora, and my experiences at the university involving non-ethnic casteism (racism) provided a basis for understanding the different issues involved in modern ethnicity. Although I view all caste-like questions -- including patriate diasporas, conquerors, colonists, and polycommunalism -- as related to ethnicity, I think they need to be treated separately because their dynamics are different -- theories that help us understand caste-like relationships are quite different from those that apply in class-related situations. I worked on these problems in , including ideas formulated earlier in . My more recent work, however, has concentrated on ethnicity in what I consider to be its most relevant and important form: situations in which culturally different communities strive for more equality of status under the premises of modernity that presuppose class-like relationships.
To understand modernity, we need to understand the linkages that
governed three far-reaching transformations that took place in the West
during the last two or three hundred years: the Industrial Revolution,
the rise of democracy, and the emergence of nationalism. I see them as
so closely linked that one needs to view them as a single historical process
which I think of as Modernity. The word modernization is
used to refer to the global impact of modernity, especially under the influence
of industrial imperialism.
I will say more about this process below, but first I want to indicate how I think it applies to ethnicity and how I became interested in this subject. My interest in this subject was stimulated by my efforts to solve a major terminological problem confronting all the social sciences. It involved our tendency to resist neologisms (although they are widely introduced and viewed as necessary in the natural sciences) and, instead, to keep stipulating new meanings for established words. I have explained my experiences and the development of the COCTA project in Chapter 4 so I will not repeat myself here.
The relevant point is that we made a group decision to experiment with the design of a conceptual glossary that would identify concepts related to ethnicity, first, by texts describing them, and then by listing terms that could be used without ambiguity to represent these concepts. Although the glossary was designed to be exemplary rather than comprehensive, I did spend a lot of time collecting and reading texts that discussed ethnic phenomena and problems. My recent work on ethnicity resulted from this exercise. I became sufficiently familiar with the literature and met enough of the scholars working on ethnic problems to think that I could and should make an independent contribution to the field. With that in mind, let me turn to the substantive issues that attracted my attention.
Ethnic Diversity and Ethnonationalism
First, let me make an important distinction between ethnic diversity and ethnonationalism. I found from my work with the literature on ethnicity that, overwhelmingly, it deals with problems of diversity. Although the problems raised by diversity are, indeed, very serious and, indeed, of utmost importance in America, on a global basis I consider that the problems of ethnonationalism are more threatening. The former can usually be solved peacefully whereas the latter raise issues the lead to violence and even civil wars.
The materials that I read for the COCTA glossary opened my eyes to this difference. The bulk of the American and western literature that I saw dealt with problems of ethnic diversity, but documents from Africa and the Soviet Union opened my eyes to the importance of ethnonationalism. Ironically, I was faulted by some critics for having paid too little attention to major Western writings on ethnicity and for exaggerating concepts drawn from the non-Western texts. In retrospect, I am glad I did that because, in the contemporary context, ethnic nationalism lies at the root of major conflicts, such as those found in Kosovo and Bosnia today, or as evident in Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Burma, the Philippines, India, China, Northern Ireland, Spain, Canada, Russia, and even in the United States.
The most important difference that I see between these two forms
of ethnicity hinges on the attitude of members of an ethnic community toward
the state in which they are living. These categories overlap, and there
are important differences within each group, but the basic distinction
strikes me as extremely important. Ethnic diversity, in my thinking, involves
the problems confronting minority communities who accept citizenship in
the state where they are living. -- or wish to become citizens. By contrast,
ethnonationalism prevails in ethnic communities whose leaders are struggling
for recognition as autonomous regions or independent states.
Of course, there are differences among members of any one community
with respect to their aspirations -- some may accept their existing citizenship
and others demand sovereignty. This distinction is highly visible in Hawaii
where I have come to live. Moreover, individuals may change their attitudes,
depending on whether they are doing well economically and socially, or
whether they become angry enough to want to support the leaders of different
sovereignty movements. Unfortunately, there is some ambiguity in the term,
ethnic diversity which is sometimes used very broadly to include
ethnonationalism. I believe this usage obscures the differences and we
need to be able to talk about the differences because they explain different
phenomena and they require different approaches to meet the legitimate
grievances and aspirations of diverse ethnic minorities. I use ethnic
problems as a generic term to refer to all problems of modern ethnicity.
As for the caste/class distinction, I should add that it is not rigid, and transitions are possible. The Civil Rights movement in America launched a basic change as the caste-like the status of Blacks evolved into the class-like status of African-Americans. A similar transformation occurred in the status of Chinese-Americans, as I learned from my dissertation research on the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Acts. These acts had reflected caste-like thinking by naming Chinese as a people who could be denied the right to immigrate to the U.S. Moreover, there were laws restricting what they could do in the U.S. as I reported in my first article to deal with an ethnic issue . My thesis  recorded the political process whereby the immigration acts were repealed, setting in motion a process that also removed barriers against the immigration of other Asians, although they were not identified by name.
Although important symbolically, the repeal act only changed the law -- but it did permit the subsequent evolution of a more important socio-economic transformation which was caused by the acute manpower shortages of World War II. Although the Chinese in America continued to be treated as a separate caste, just like the African-Americans, the War brought about a real change in the lives of Chinese Americans. Until then, they had been largely restricted, as a caste, to such family occupations as laundries and restaurants.
However, most of them had also acquired good educations, including
professional degrees. Suddenly, they found that many new and good positions
were open to them, and the old barriers suddenly collapsed -- they were
able to move into class relations with fellow Americans. From being a racial
("Yellow") people, they became ethnics. Like Italian Americans,
Irish Americans, or any community of immigrants from Europe, they became
"Chinese Americans." My basic point is that cross-cultural relations
among members of different cultural communities could evolve from being
caste-like to become class-based.
The Influence of Modernity
The basic reasons for this transformation can be found, I think, in the dynamics of modernity, as characterized by industrialization, democratization, and nationalism. Cultural differences are, indeed, ancient and myths about past injustices and glories provide ammunition for modern ethnic leaders as they promote contemporary causes. However, these leaders are able to win followers and become successful only because of the gigantic social transformations caused by modernity that have globalized the world today. The thesis that ethnicity is a primordial residue that modernity can erase inverts the truth. Actually, modernity has caused ethnicity to become an increasingly important problem.
Ethnicity as a Modern Problem
Since I only came much later to understand how modernity re-shaped ethnicity, let me explain how my thinking evolved because of the stimulus of my work on conceptual and terminological problems, as reported in Chapter 4 . In that chapter, I describe the origins of the project to develop a conceptual (non-alphabetical) glossary for the emerging field of ethnic studies, as finally published in . Unavoidably, my attention became increasingly focused on the ethnic problems reported in the literature I was searching for key concepts. However, I only felt confident when writing about these concepts, not about the substantive problems of ethnicity. My first article, based on the findings reported in the Glossary project, was a comment published in . It responded to controversies about the overlap and differences between ethnic and national.. These two words were often used as synonyms, yet they could also point to quite different things. I decided to write an article that would discuss the concepts involved.
As I saw it then, ethnicity involves relations between different cultural communities who see themselves as significantly different from each other. Although I did not use the caste/class distinction then, I think now it can help explain how modern ethnicity differs from traditional forms.To the degree that caste systems preclude social mobility, members of each cultural community learn to accept their situation as inevitable and not subject to any fundamental changes. By contrast, where class systems prevail, individuals are able to move to new occupations and intermarry with members of different communities.
As a result, modern ethnicity is class-based and generates tensions insofar as members of any ethnic community feel that their legitimate aspirations are blocked. By contrast, members of dominant communities may feel threatened and resist efforts by members of the marginalized communities to improve their class positions. When ethnic aspirations clash with barriers imposed by members of the established communities, conflict results, and problems of ethnicity become matters of public concern. This differs from the situation in caste-based societies, as noted above, where culturally different communities, for the most part, accept the distinctions drawn between different castes and do not try to challenge them. Modernity involved a swing from caste to class as a basic social framework, and this changed the way cultural difference were viewed and handled.
As for notions about nationalism, they overlap but are significantly different from concepts of ethnicity. The basic difference involves relations between any people and the state. The essential idea is that modern democratic states represent and govern nations. By contrast, in all traditional states, where monarchic rule prevailed, sovereignty was seen as coming from above, from supernatural sources, and the people were subjects of a sovereign who, no doubt, was also expected to govern wisely and bring benefits from sacred sources. Patriotism, in such states, involved loyalty and service to rulers -- subjects had only the obligation to obey and no expectations that their needs or preferences should be represented in governance.
No doubt there were exceptions, and they helped pave the way to modern
democratic governance based on notions of popular sovereignty. During the
world Anthropology Congress in Zagreb, July 1988, I was able to elaborate
on these ideas . The shift from monarchy to
which occurred during the rise of modernity had to find a persuasive basis
for sovereignty that could replace the notion of royal sovereignty. This
shift involved two concurrent but different concepts of sovereignty. One
was state-based and required that each state in the Post-Westphalian system
respect the rights of other states and avoid interference in its domestic
affairs. Ideas about nationalism became important as grounds for defending
state sovereignty insofar as they became conflated in notions about the
However, a more important concept for understanding nationalism involved the notion that sovereignty rests with the "people" and individuals have the sovereign right to make decisions, as in the "town-meeting" model, or more often, through their representatives in elected assemblies. Representative government was thought to involve the representation of all citizens as individuals, but in practice it became difficult to implement this notion because dominant groups were unwilling to share power with many marginalized minorities, and especially those viewed as belonging to lower castes. . Frequently the right to vote and be represented in governance was limited to men of property, whether in land or business, but it was assumed that the protection of capital and respectability excluded poor people -- and women and slaves -- from representation -- in other words, only certain people had sovereign rights -- and others could be excluded from representation.
Increasingly, these restrictions came under attack. As marginalized communities became mobilized, they started to demand the full rights of citizenship, including their sovereign right to be represented by elected politicians. Not surprisingly, those in power resisted such demands and gave ground only gradually, step by step. In this process, the proposition that the legitimacy of democratic government depended on the right of a nation as a collectivity, rather than of individuals, to govern themselves became increasingly important To be or become a nation required that nationals share a sense of identity, cultural practices and symbols, and think of themselves as belonging to a collectivity that could be identified with the state. This made the rights of cultural minorities increasingly problematic.
The spread of idea of nationalism has been well studied and reported in many books. It has no doubt helped stabilize nation-states in which citizens feel a sense that they can control a state which represents their shared national interests. However, historically speaking, most would-be democracies are multi-ethnic and, therefore, contain minorities who do not identify with the "nation" and feel that their interests and rights are neglected and abused.
To counteract this uneasiness, many states have embarked on policies
I call state-nationalism. The most successful and classic case may
be that of France where, during the past two centuries, many citizens who
had not previously thought of themselves as "French" were re-socialized
to identify themselves as such. Of course, a similar process occurred in
the United States where immigrants in large numbers were led to think of
themselves as Americans. I recall my own sense of incongruity when I saw
the musical, Flower Drum Song, in which an elderly Chinese lady
who had been attending naturalization classes refers to "our ancestors
who took part in the Boston Tea Party"!
State nationalism may involve peaceful processes of indoctrination
and re-socialization for ethnic minorities, but it can also lead to violence
as represented by Nazi Germany's effort to create an Aryan Nation which
led both to genocide against non-Aryan Germans, and to a war of conquest
intended to bring all German-speaking people together in the Third Reich.
This is what Hitler had in mind when speaking of National Socialism.
Whether by gentle assimilation of minorities or ruthless extermination of "outsiders," the ideal of state nationalism was to achieve solidarity of all the people within a state: all members of a nation belong to one state and all citizens of a state belong to the same nation. This goal, which may be called the national state has rarely, if ever, been achieved, but as an ideal type, it has become a powerful motivator. Note the concept differs from that of the nation-state which can mean an independent state, or a state with a dominant nation.
In today's world, following the collapse of the great industrial empires, we find a great many new states are fragmented, both as multi-ethnic societies and as divided nations. At the same time, their governments are typically weak and authoritarian, bringing to mind the conditions in China when I grew up in the 1920s. War lords, gangs, and inter-ethnic strife are commonplace in such states. In this context, ambitious leaders can easily mobilize followers to demand justice and security, often through the establishment of a new state or least of ethnic autonomy.
The resulting ethnic nationalism reverses the paradigm of state nationalism. Instead of a state seeking to nationalize all its citizens, an ethnic nation demands independence and the right to create its own state. Whereas state nationalism leads to the consolidation of authority within an existing state, ethnic nationalism is a force for fragmentation, undermining the survival of fragile states and, often enough, generating more states
As a concrete example, think of India where a national movement for independence compelled the British Empire to surrender its authority. In this process, a Muslim ethnic nation was born and demanded the formation of Pakistan by partitioning India. However, the Bengalis of East Pakistan felt oppressed by the government in far-off West Pakistan, and in due course rose up and secured their own independence. Today, Pakistan also faces challenges from its own ethnic nations, especially the Pathans (Pushtuns) living next to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, within India itself, various ethnonational movements have arisen among the Sikhs, the Tamils, and most threateningly, the Kashmiris. Similar narratives can be found in many other countries -- today, we in the midst of such a struggle by the Albanian "minority" in Kosovo against the ruling Serbs, and at the heart of the North Korean problem is the wish of all Koreans to somehow reunify their divided nation.
I put "minority" in quotation marks because it is another word with two different meanings that are easily confused with each other. We may be thinking of a numerical minority like the Democrats in today's Congress, or an ethnic minority. The Albanians, as an ethnic minority, are a numerical majority in Kosovo. They have now evolved into an ethnic nation demanding autonomy or independence.
I was able to present some of these conceptual distinctions at a roundtable in Limerick, Ireland, July 1990, that was sponsored by the IPSA research committee on Politics and Ethnicity -- it was published in . My goal was to discuss the major concepts used in research on ethnicity and to propose terms that would enable us to disambiguate them. I moved outside the context of modern ethnicity to discuss race as a non-ethnic concept but I failed to see its roots in caste-like relationships. However, I proposed we recognize the concept as a social construction rather than a phylogenetic reality, and use a convention, like quotation marks ("race"), to acknowledge this fact.
These early essays were restricted to conceptual and terminological
problems. They failed to provide any explanatory theory that could tell
us why these ethnic problems had arisen or what might be done to solve
them. It took me another five years of thinking about the subject before
I felt that I could propose some explanations.
Most of the attention of American writers on ethnicity is focused on the problems created by ethnic diversity which is, indeed, the most important type of ethnic problem in the U.S. Most immigrants to America came voluntarily and wanted to become Americans. The project of Americanization, therefore, was welcomed on both sides. Immigrants were eager to enjoy the benefits of citizenship and took advantage of any assistance the government or private organizations could give them to facilitate their integration into mainstream American life. However, this was by no means an easy process and for many poor immigrants, it meant years of hardship, struggle and social discrimination.
Most of the attention of contemporary American writers about ethnic diversity tends to focus less on problems faced by minorities who wish to become Americans than on those which concern the retention of their traditional languages, religions and cultural practices. of their own culture while becoming sufficiently Americanized to benefit from the advantages of citizenship. A host of problems addressed by American specialists in Ethnic Studies relate to such matters as these and to the related though different problems of "race relations," thought of as the caste-like problems associated with involuntary migrants to America, notably the Africans brought in chains to be sold into slavery, and their descendants. As racial metaphors like "Black" and "Negro" have been replaced by the ethnic term, "African-American", however, these caste-like problems seem to be evolving into those of the class-related questions posed by ethnic diversity.
I decided that I could not make any useful contribution to this discourse but that it would be useful to focus on the different problems raised by ethnic nationalism. This subject has continued to hold my attention in a half dozen or so follow-up projects. It includes, of course, an American aspect as shown, especially, by the status of indigenous peoples conquered by the Europeans who invaded the Americas. Since I live in Hawaii where the Hawaiian sovereignty movement generated almost daily attention in the mass media, I have thought quite a bit about it and tried to link it to the issues of ethnic nationalism raised today in many other countries. In order to understand these problems, I felt that we needed to achieve a better understanding of modernity which I saw as the underlying cause.
I see the Industrial Revolution as a product not only of economic changes but of the empowerment of capitalists who were able to achieve political transformations that gave them the security to make the long-term investments that made industrialization possible. These changes involved the transfer of power from kings whose arbitrary rule often jeopardized industrial investments to a system of government which empowered the middle class and assured them security of property and the rule of law.
Actually, my experiences in Thailand had paved the way for this interpretation. I remember a conversation I had with a Chinese business man who told me that he thought the raising of casava and development of tapioca manufacturing in Thailand would be extremely profitable and he wished that he could be a pioneer entrepreneur in this field. When I asked him why he did not start such a business, he told me that he could not because, as a Chinese, any investments he made in long-term production would be highly insecure because of oppressive actions by government officials.
Even if he was exaggerating the risks, I could see that pariah entrepreneurs, as I called them, could not have carried out the industrial revolution. Instead, what was needed was a political context in which property rights were so well protected that innovators could, indeed, take the risks needed to develop new enterprises. Such a regime would only come into existence when the business community came to power, a fundamental transformation that occurred in Europe only after the rise of the post-Westphalian state system. I shall not try to recapitulate the argument here, but I went through it in some detail in 
The Industrial Revolution produced changes that had ramifications throughout European society and, eventually, everywhere in the world as the current recognition of globalization reveals -- see Chapter 7 . Among these changes was the uprooting of rural populations and urbanization which created massively conspicuous poverty and unrest, the mobilization of industrial workers and the rise of Communist movements and states. Its influence on migration was so important that I need to say more about it.
The population movements created by industrialization extended far beyond those that led peasants to migrate to cities. Many migrants left their own countries and traveled abroad. Of course, migrations have occurred throughout human history so we cannot say this is anything new. However, industrialization greatly increased the volume. The small number of colonists who settled the 13 colonies of North America were greatly increased by the floods of immigrants who came to America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries under the impetus of the Industrial Revolution.
Of course, they also populated the whole New World, and they imported slaves and indentured laborers to work on plantations, in mines and factories, and to provide all kinds of supporting services. Because ethnic minorities are typically seen as residents of a country in contact with each other, it is important to recognize that migrations produce minorities who become ethnicized to the degree that settlers coming from different countries live and work in contact with each other as well as with long-established residents. I took up this theme in 
In retrospect, let me add a marginal note: in  I published an article on "Arab Refugees from Palestine." At that time, I saw it as a humanitarian problem and reported merely on what happened when Israel created a state in Palestine and many Palestinians fled to be housed in refugee camps or dispersed in many different countries. Now, however, it is apparent that the Palestinians, as an ethnonation, came into existence because of that momentous event. In diaspora, Palestinians organized to recover their lost lands, to return home and to create a Palestinian state. There had not previously been a Palestinian nation or state -- Palestine had existed in modern times only as a mandate under British rule, or a province of the Ottoman Empire. In short, they were sibjects ruled by foreigners. Moving around from Jordan to Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia, the Palestine Liberation Organization under the continuous leadership of Yasser Arafat and his associates, has created the sense of identity which is now alive in Gaza and the West Bank where the demand for statehood may finally be achieved.
No doubt the myth makers could create a reasonable historical record tracing Palestinian ancestry to the Philistines who were living in Canaan before the Hebrews arrived from Egypt to seize their "Promised Land." Etymologically, Palestine derives from Philistia, but there is little evidence of any historical continuity for the people living in that region of the Eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, philistinism has acquired such pejorative connotations that I doubt any Palestinian would want to claim Philistine ancestry.
Another story linking migration with industrialization is explains the origins of the Black/'White problem in America. African Slaves were brought to some America colonies, primarily to work cotton plantations, a process that fueled the American Civil War and the post-war problems of race relations that continue to plague the U.S. The cotton grown in America was exported to England where it provided raw material for a rapidly expanding cotton industry. That industry had been created to meet the shortage of cotton caused by resistance from England's wool industry to the importation of Indian cotton goods which filled a great need among consumers.
The East India Company, which this great need for imports, had little
of value except for silver and gold to exchange for its valued imports,
not only from India but also from China and other Asian countries. The
invention of new machines and power resources to mass produce cotton goods
in England was made possible by the revolutionary movements which had greatly
enhanced bourgeois power in Europe and made it possible for dissenters
to invent machinery and use it in factories designed for mass production.
In England at that time an established church meant that choice positions
in government, the church and the armed services were monopolized by Anglicans.
Although one might view dissenters as an ethnic minority, comparable to
the Chinese merchants in Thailand whom I have commented on above, they
actually acquired power through the increasingly influential parliament
that could raise money for the royal treasury to support England's overseas
conquests which depended heavily on mercenary soldiers.
In this context, some merchants became secure enough to feel safe
when investing money in new facilities of production that were far more
vulnerable to arbitrary treatment by government officials than were their
warehouses stocked with the goods that had been manufactured abroad. Max
Weber wrote about this connection in his Protestantism and the Rise
of Capitalism, but I believe he inverted the real story. It was not
their faith that led Calvinists to become capitalists, but their exclusion
from high status positions that drove them to become merchants, universally
low status roles in caste-based societies. Merchants often become rich
which makes them vulnerable to official abuse -- but also, as in the West,
to gain power when class-relations replace caste. However, a stigma always
attaches, under caste rules, to low-status roles. Religious beliefs often
provide some consolation by helping believers feel good about themselves.
Subsequently, to ease their own conscience, merchants were able to interpret
the scriptures in such a way as to argue that wealth was a sign of God's
grace and therefore quite virtuous. Thus, I believe, it was capitalism
that drove the new industrialists to their religious beliefs rather than
the other way around.
After industrialization made it possible to mass-produce cotton goods,
and the domestic demand for these products had begun to be satisfied, British
merchants realized that their cotton could be exported to India for sale
at lower prices than locally hand-crafted cotton goods. This would also
give them the rupees they needed to import valued products manufactured
by hand throughout Asia, but especially in China. As British imperial control
expanded, it also became possible for the imperial regime to ban or prevent
the manufacture of cotton goods in India, and thereby to expand the market
for its own mass-produced cotton goods.
Ultimately, British exploitation of India produced a national resistance movement led, among others, by Mahatma Gandhi, an Oxford University graduate who made the spinning wheel a major symbol for Indian nationalism. The Indian example has inspired a host of nationalist leaders in many countries that have already secured their independence -- and it is now influencing the leaders of many ethnonational movements located within the heartlands of the great imperial powers. This has been a long story, and no doubt it simplifies what really happened as reported by Sir George Sansom in The Western World and Japan, a great but relatively neglected masterpiece that provides the complete narrative. I began to tell this story in more detail in  and have elaborated the thesis in subsequent articles.
Industrialization produced ethnification, a process whereby communities that had hitherto lived quietly in niches protected by caste-like rules, were exposed to opportunities for change that impelled class-like dynamics to emerge. The rags to riches saga epitomized this change in which not only poor people but members of various ethnic minorities were able to achieve rapid social mobility. There were always social costs, however, and obstacles were often encountered that created a sense of injustice, frustration and bitterness that had not been felt so long as sedentary caste-like conditions prevailed.
Democratization and Nationalism
Democratization was accelerated by industrialization as rapidly mobilizing
workers and members of ethnic minorities and, of course, women, all began
to demand equal rights and especially suffrage, removing obstacles that
had hitherto protected oligarchic domination of representative governments.
Resistance based on discrimination against ethnic communities naturally
provoked them to intensify their demands. Workers in the same factory or
industry began to overcome inter-ethnic suspicions and organize unions
that acted politically as well as in labor-management disputes, leading
again to enhanced democratization. Thus industrialization was both facilitated
by and contributed to democratization. In turn, democratic norms bolstered
the claims of ethnic minorities whose anger rose as they felt increasingly
that they had not been treated justly.
Nationalism was also encouraged by both industrialization and nationalism.
As states responded to the needs created by industrialization, they became
increasingly eager to enhance ethnic homogeneity so that workers and managers
could work together more efficiently and corporations could expand their
markets as mass-production enabled them to increase their outputs. This
motive fueled state nationalism and its efforts to re-socialize ethnic
communities to give them a sense of identity with the nation. However,
this effort generated resistance from communities who felt threatened and
wanted to preserve their own traditions, language, religious beliefs and
other cultural practices. The dynamics of industrial imperialism as it
rose during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries accelerated these
processes around the world and created the first great wave of ethnic nationalism
in the resistance movements organized to liberate countries from colonial
The empires that conquered peoples living far from their homelands could not easily maintain control over these possessions and, when national resistance movements arose, it was also difficult to sustain much enthusiasm within their heartlands for the costly efforts required to maintain control over their possession. Of course, the empires were also seriously damaged by the violent inter-imperial wars of the 20th century: World Wars I and II, and the Cold War which followed. In this context, nationalist movements in possession after possession, with India taking the lead, claimed and won their independence, creating the large number of new states now populating the world.
In retrospect, it may not be easy to think of these independence
movements as being ethnonational in character: there are so many minorities
in these new states that they scarcely look like nations. Yet, while they
were happening, the leaders of these independence movements claimed that
they were acting on behalf of nations that had the right to govern themselves
and thereby realize both the benefits of democracy and the economic fruits
that independence would give them. The rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson's 14
Points, and of "self determination" provided a widely accepted
normative basis to support these claims.
The theory of leaders demanding independence hinged on the premise
that the imperial powers had exploited their possessions in order to secure
raw materials for industrial production and to open market for their mass-produced
products. The newly independent states would, in principle, be able to
bring this exploitation to an end, and sponsor their own economic development.
American aid programs, augmented by parallel projects of many other countries
and of the emerging international organizations, including the UN, World
Bank, International Monetary Fund, and many philanthropic foundations all
jumped in to help these new states accomplish these goals. Thus the philosophy
of development and modernization which was based in the most industrialized
democracies provided texts for nationalists and revolutionaries to use.
Indigenous Peoples demand Justice and Sovereignty
In practice, however, great hopes were frustrated and widespread
disillusionment grew. Among those who were most angry were a growing number
of indigenous peoples. Precisely because the imperial possessions
were culturally heterogenous, and the boundaries of empires often divided
ancient ethnic communities, there were many reasons for indigenous communities
to feel that they were endangered and oppressed. This was not only true
in virtually all of the new states, but increasingly indigenous peoples
in the Western homelands of industrialization also began to mobilize and
demand sovereignty and justice. Thus ethnonationalism which, in the first
wave, arose in the overseas possessions of the industrial empires, began
to emerge among indigenous peoples in almost every country of the world.
In [1998b] I discussed these relationships and also pointed out that, because the overseas possessions of the imperial powers were located outside their boundaries (in exclaves), it was difficult for distant imperial powers to hold on to their possessions, especially after nationalist movement arose and they had weakened themselves by inter-imperial wars. By contrast, however, the indigenous peoples now demanding independence are located, for the most part, in enclaves, and this means that it is easier for the states within which they are located to control them, and also that it is difficult for them to create successful states of their own.
Moreover, because of easy movement into and out of enclaves, many members of any indigenous community live in diaspora and may or may not want to be associated with ethnonational movements based in their homelands. For example, many Francophones in Canada, although eager to protect their own culture, are not enthusiastic about independence for Quebec. Similar situations may well occur among Maoris in New Zealand, Sikhs in the Punjab, Moros in the Philippines, and many American indigenous communities. The best that many of these communities can hope for is, probably, some kind of autonomous regional status.
However, important differences between states affect the prospects for indigenous ethnonational movements. The authoritarianism and weakness of many regimes in the new states will accelerate the rise of indigenous movements, and also make it more difficult to reach peaceful solutions. Although we typically think of authoritarian states as strong, the fact is that many of them are very weak. That is what I learned in China during the war-lord years when the internationally recognized government in Peking was a dictatorship unable to control most of the country which lived in anarchy.
However, anarchy is too strong a word, implying the complete lack of governance. Actually, all kinds of local leaders, especially for ethnic communities, are able to create small zones of order for their people. In China these were called "war lords" and many had bandit leaders but when they conquered a city, they recruited unemployed mandarins to help them create local governments in conflict with their neighbors. We need to recognize this kind of weak authoritarianism linked with anarchic local authorities as a type of regime that has now become widespread in many third world countries.
I call them anarchian regimes and their anarchianism is a by-product of the spread and collapse of industrial empires. If permits the emergence of local ethnonations that do not want to be conquered by the states in which they exist and, instead, they demand independence or autonomy. Historically, industrialism created the capacity and motives for imperial conquests and produced the new multi-ethnic states in which restive ethnic communities organize ethnonational resistance movements. I wrote about this in [1995a] in an essay predicting violence -- increasingly violent -- in these states as weak governments try vainly to control rebellious communities whose demands escalate in response to increased repression. The current crisis in Kosovo provides a classic example of this dynamism.
Similar movements for independence or autonomy in the industrialized democracies are more likely to succeed on a non-violent basis. The Hawaiian sovereignty movement, mentioned above, offers a good example. They are indigenous peoples who were conquered and forced to live as subjects in countries which they originally dominated. Initially, after a more or less prolonged period of resistance to colonizers from the West, they had no choice but to put up with their marginalized status. Now, however, to the degree that their host states are democratic, they may hope to achieve their goals by peaceful means.
Incentives and Opportunities
Many radical changes brought about by modernity now give indigenous
peoples in all countries more incentives and the opportunities to organize
and press for sovereignty. The collapse of the great empires and the emergence
of new states provided role models, augmented by the widespread acceptance
of norms concerning human rights that were ardently promoted by the United
Nations and other international organs generated in the aftermath of World
War II. Although these norms were originally formulated to uphold the right
of conquered people in the great empires to strive for independence, they
have now been extended to indigenous peoples living in both the new states
and the imperial heartlands. Modernity has armed them with new resources
that can be identified as follows:
The Growth of Diasporas
All of these factors are, perhaps, so easily understood that I will
make no further comments about them, except for the growth of
diasporas. Before making a substantive comment, let me comment on
the meanings of this word which is often take to refer to all those who
have emigrated and live outside their homelands. It may also refer to the
Jewish Diaspora which led to the Zionist movement and the creation of
Israel. As I use this term here, it refers to something that relates to
both of these ideas and identifies a phenomenon of growing importance for
ethnic nationalism. See further notes on concepts relating to diasporas .
What I have in mind is the concept of people living outside their homeland while remaining in touch. Many emigrants do not remain in touch -- they simply become integrated in the life of the hostland where they have settled. The interactions can take many forms, ranging from sending remittances to their relatives to serious involvement in resistance or other political movements. It may also involve travel back and forth with longer or shorter periods in both their home and host lands. Of course, any diaspora population is variable, it may decline or grow as individuals choose to suspend or resume contacts with their homelands. The motives for involvement may be purely personal or they be responses to external pressures, especially from leaders in the homeland who seek the support of their diasporans, and attempt to help, protect or influence them.
The role of diasporans in the development and prospects of ethnonational movements is, I believe, very great and, of course, it reflects the growth of transportation and communications facilities, especially air travel and telecommunications (including the INTERNET) which greatly facilitate travel the movement of goods and money, and just keeping in touch. The results are especially important, I believe, for ethnic nationalism. Indeed, I think it is important to include diasporas in our concept of an ethnic nation: it is not only the people who stay home but also those who live elsewhere who constitute any ethnic nation.
In order to make this point more clearly, we need a counterpart term to
diaspora for those members of an ethnic nation who stay at home.
Having such a term would enable us to avoid having to use "ethnic
nation ambiguously to refer both to the whole nation and to its members
not in diaspora. An easily formed neologism, anaspora, would enable
us to distinguish clearly between the members of any ethnic nation at home
(its anaspora) and members living elsewhere (its diaspora).
Having made this point, it becomes much easier to offer the proposition that the activities engaged in by any ethnic nation are a product of those carried out by its diaspora as well as its anaspora. On the premise that this dimension of the rising phenomenon of ethnic nationalism has received insufficient scholarly attention, I organized at three-session panel on Diasporas to be held at the conference of the International Studies Association in Washington, February 1999. Details of the plan can be found at: Diaspora Panel This represents the latest phase of my growing interest in ethnic nationalism which I intend to continue studying as long as I can. I also discussed these matters in a note 1998a dealing with the impact of diasporas on area studies
Regimes and Ethnic Nationalism
A connection between regime types and the incidence of ethnonational
violence was suggested above. To recapitulate, I believe it is possible
for ethnonations located in a democracy to pursue their goals in a non-violent
way, relying on negotiation and electoral processes. By contrast, under
strong authoritarian regimes, the rulers are able to suppress ethnonational
movements, as illustrated by the Soviet experience. It was only after the
collapse of this regime that many ethnonations were able to develop and
press for independence.
Similarly, traditional monarchies have been able to contain ethnonational
movements so long as the sacred basis for their legitimacy persists. When
everyone is viewed as a subject of autocratic rule, no great distinctions
arise between dominant and marginalized majorities. Everyone, in a sense,
is marginalized and invidious distinctions between different kinds of subjects
seem irrelevant. Of course, caste-like hierarchic systems also stabilized
A remarkable example was the Manchu (Ching) dynasty in China (1644-1911)
in which the rulers belonged to a small ethnic minority coming from the
Northeastern frontier. The most significant resistance came from Koxinga
and his followers who created the Formosan Kingdom. After only a generation,
however, his successors quietly agreed to join the Manchu Imperial system.
Actually, this system was deliberately made acceptable to minorities like
the Tibetans and the Mongols who were able to exercise a good deal of autonomy.
The Manchu rulers saw themselves as presiding over a multi-ethnic empire
in which the Chinese were, of course, numerically preponderant among their
subjects. Of course, the rise of modernity with its notions of democracy
and nationalism terminated the Manchu regime and led to the anarchian situation
that persisted, in reality, until 1950 when the Communists finally unified
China with overwhelming force.
Because of my Ethiopian study reported in Chapter
3, it might be interesting to look at how its imperial system fared.
Despite all the disruptions experienced by Ethiopia under Italian occupation
from 1935-41, when the Emperor Haile Selassie returned from exile a unified
government was established, even including re-unification with Eritrea
in 1952, although a resistance movement started there in 1962 when the
original autonomy agreement was terminated. It was not until the emperor
was deposed by a military coup, not an ethnic rebellion, that ethnonational
resistance movements began to flourish. They led, eventually, leading to
active separatism in Eritrea, Tigre, and the Ogaden whose Somali population
became the focus of a unification war with neighboring Somalia.
In 1991 the military (communist) regime collapsed, Eritrea gained its independence, and a new constitutional design was promulgated in 1994 which provides for a parliamentary federal government and four autonomous regions including Tigre and Ogaden. In short, ethnonationalism did not arise under imperial rule, but it broke out immediately after the emperor was deposed and a military anarchian regime was established. Since constitutional government was created, the ethonational tensions appear to have been ameliorated if not resolved by the separation of Eritrea, and the grant of autonomy within a federal system to four important ethonational communities.
The most likely environment for the appearance of violent ethnonational
movements, as the Ethiopian experience also suggests, appears in anarchian
regimes (authoritarian and anarchic) where it is both easy to create ethnonational
movements and the prevalence of disorder motivates communities to look
for viable solutions to the problems faced by their communities. Moreover,
the authoritarians who rule a weak government feel so threatened by secession
movements and so unable to use democratic processes to solve them that
they almost invariably respond with force to these movements, producing
confrontations that easily escalate into civil war.
Ethnonationalism in Democracies
Within the context of democratic regimes, ethnonational movements
clearly have a better chance of reaching agreements for autonomy if not
independence than they do under weak authoritarian regimes, single-party
dictatorships, or monarchical rule. However, I began to wonder if it made
any difference for ethnonational movements whether they were located in
presidential or parliamentary systems. Since I had been looking into the
comparative merits and liabilities of these constitutional frameworks for
some time -- as reported in Chapter
6 -- I began to ask whether problems of ethnonationalism could more
readily be resolved in presidentialist or parliamentarist regimes [1995b].
In my earlier work on constitutional design, I focused on the internal structure of these two major types of system. Later, however, I began to think that we should also evaluate regimes on the basis of how well they can solve major problems, including that of ethnonationalism. I concluded that, on balance, parliamentarism probably makes it easier to accommodate the needs of ethnonations demanding autonomy or independence than separation-of-powers systems. They certainly have an advantage in dealing with ethnic diversity because it is much easier to make proportional representation work under parliamentary than presidentialist constitutions. My conclusions on this matter are reported in a still-unpublished paper presented to UNESCO, but available on my Web Page, in draft 1998d] The argument related to ethnonationalism is less persuasive but I did argue that constitutional monarchies with parliamentary democracies probably can do better than presidentialist republics. I am less confident that parliamentary republics have a clear advantage in dealing with ethnonational movements.
A few years ago, when I began to link my research into concepts of
ethnicity with my efforts to study ethnic problems, I decided to join several
research committees. I become a member of the committees on Ethnicity and
Politics of IPSA, and on Race and Ethnicity of the ISA(Soc), and participated
in the formation of the section for Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration
of the ISA(IR). I also helped to catalyze the development of a new Research
Committee on Ethnic Relations in the IUAES (International Union of Anthropological
and Ethnographic Societies) whose Congress in Zagreb I attended in July
1988. At that Congress I gave a paper on "Modes of Ethnicity"
 and worked with several members whom I met
to help them establish their own section for research on ethnic relations.
After having done that, it struck me that each of these research committees, working separately, could strengthen their work by learning about and cooperating with each other. This would be especially important if they could resolve some conceptual and terminological issues in a way that would facilitate communication. I had already prepared the Glossary on Ethnicity  and Matti Malkia had processed it on hypertext in a machine-readable form. I thought that, perhaps, by establishing links between the ethnicity research committees of these associations, it might be possible to promote their interest in developing the vocabulary needed to help them understand each other. The new technology of the INTERNET and the WWW should make this possible.
That still remains a dream to be achieved, but in the process I was able to create an INTERNET LIST and a Web Page to serve these groups. As various research centers and institutions interested in ethnicity learned of my list, they asked if I could add their names. The results can be found at ETHNIC-L . There one may find a list of organized groups with information about their purposes, liaison officers, and Web Pages.
The main list is arranged alphabetically by the name of each group. Supplementary list identify the liaison persons, and a subject index provides access to groups focused on particular themes. I intend to use the subject list, based on the key words mentioned by each group to identify their goals, as the starting point for a conceptual exercise designed to clarify what they have in mind. However, this is still a project "under construction" and I cannot predict that it will succeed. The next step will be to establish a file with self-activating frames in which the liaison officers can register and up-date the information provided for their own groups. This procedure is still in the planning stage, but I intend to keep working on it and am optimistic.
As for substantive research, I think I have almost reached the end
of the road. If I can, however, I want to use the papers on diasporas presented
at the ISA conference in February 1999 as a basis for preparing a theoretical
essay on the role and problems of diasporas in the world today. I should
add that the way diasporas are ordinarily conceptualized, they include
only communities whose members migrated from their homelands to some foreign
hostland. However, ethnic nations include not only these migrant diasporas
but also a very important set of national communities separated from their
homeland by wars and treaties which placed them in another country. The
Hungarians of Transylvania living now in Romania provide a classic case,
but there are many others. I refer to them as cleft diasporas because
they were created by cleavages which rearranged inter-state borders. Of
course, the two categories overlap, especially because of migrations that
follow these cleavages. Thus Hungarians who feel oppressed in Romania may
choose to resettle in Hungary, or migrate to some other country. If it
is possible to organize a panel on cleft diasporas, I will try to do so.
However, since I can think of nothing more to say about my work on ethnicity,
let me bring this chapter to an abrupt close.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (TO BE ADDED)
Links to Home Pages containing
information relevant to Ethnicity and Nationalism
Links to ETHNIC-L a network of Organizations
and Persons studying ethnicity
Links to ETHNIC-L a network of Organizations
and Persons studying ethnicity
CHECK-LIST: Relevant papers and publications
by the author
2000a. "The Para-Modern Context of Ethnic Nationalism," Of Fears and Foes, edited by Jose V. Ciprut (Westport: Praeger) pp. 167-186. See draft
Diversity, Nationalism, and Constitutional Democracy A Working Paper
and Ethnic Nations
Diasporas and Area Studies
1999c. Plans for panel on
Diasporas: 1998a. "The Modernity of Ethnic Identity
and Conflict" International Political Science Review Vol.19,
no.3, July 1998. pp.269-288. This issue contains a symposium on "Ethnic
Nationalism and the World Systemic Crisis," based on papers presented
at the Conference of the International Studies Association, Toronto, Canada,
March 18-22, 1997. The symposium was edited by Riggs who also prepared
a "Glossary of Terms used in this Issue"
pp.311-330, which contains hypertext links to the texts cited in their
original contexts of use. See the original draft of
the Riggs paper, and find drafts for the other papers at Plan.
1998c. "The Para-Modern Context of Ethnic
Nationalism." Jose V. Ciprut, ed., Of Fears and Foes (in press) See
1998b. "Indigenous Peoples And Ethnic Nations: The Concept of E'Claves". The draft A paper presented at the annual conference of the International Studies Association, Minneapolis, March 17-21, 1998 in a two-session panel on "Ethnic Nationalism among Indigenous Peoples and Stateless Ethnic Nations."
1998d. "Presidentialism vs. Parliamentarism: Implications for Industrialization and Ethnonational Conflict." UNESCO paper, in press. See original draft
1998e. "Globalism, Diasporas and Area Studies: A Think Piece." See the text .
1999a. Diasporas and Ethnic Nations
1999b. Glocalization, Diasporas and Area Studies
1999c. Plans for panel on Diasporas:
1998a. "The Modernity of Ethnic Identity
and Conflict" International Political Science Review Vol.19,
no.3, July 1998. pp.269-288. This issue contains a symposium on "Ethnic
Nationalism and the World Systemic Crisis," based on papers presented
at the Conference of the International Studies Association, Toronto, Canada,
March 18-22, 1997. The symposium was edited by Riggs who also prepared
a "Glossary of Terms used in this Issue"
pp.311-330, which contains hypertext links to the texts cited in their
original contexts of use. See the original draft of
the Riggs paper, and find drafts for the other papers at Plan.
1998c. "The Para-Modern Context of Ethnic
Nationalism." Jose V. Ciprut, ed., Of Fears and Foes (in press) See
1995a.. "Turmoil among Nations, A Conceptual
Essay: Ethnonationalism, Authoritarianism, Anarchy and Democracy."
Paper presented at the International Studies
Association Conference in Chicago, Feb. 22-25, 1995: Records
of new Concepts
1995b. ."Ethnonational Rebellions and Viable Constitutionalism." International Political Science Review.16:4, pp. 375-404. Based on a paper presented at an SOG panel of the IPSA Congress in Berlin, August 1994, and also used as the basis for a COVICO conference in Hawaii--with the co-sponsorship of SOG--January 5-8, 1995.
1994. "Ethnonationalism, Industrialism, and
the Modern State." Third World Quarterly. Vol. 15:4, pp.583-611.
Paper presented at the International Studies Association conference in
Washington, DC. March 1994.
1991. "Ethnicity, Nationalism, Race, Minority: A Semantic/Onomantic Exercise." International Sociology (Part One). 6:3, 281-305. Part Two IS 6:4, 443-463. Part of a paper, "Politics and Ethnicity: A Conceptual Mapping Exercise," prepared for the Roundtable on "Ethnic and Linguistic Communities," sponsored by the IPSA Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity," Univ. of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, July 4-7, 1990.
1988. "Modes of Ethnicity," Europa
Ethnica. Vienna. 88:4. 161-177. Published also in Journal of Ethnic
Studies. Ljubljana: Institute for Ethnic Studies--Treatises and Documents
21. This paper was first presented at the International Congress for Anthropological
and Ethnographic Sciences, Zagreb, Yugoslavia, July 1988.
1986. "What is Ethnic? What is National? Let's Turn the Tables." Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism. 13:1. pp. 111-123.
1985. Ethnicity: INTERCOCTA Glossary--Concepts and Terms used in Ethnicity Research. Paris: International Social Science Council, Committee on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (COCTA). 234 pages. (privately distributed "pilot edition")
1966. Thailand: The Modernization of a Bureaucratic Polity. Honolulu: East-West Center Press. 470 pages. Two chapters reprinted in John T. McAlister, Jr., ed. Southeast Asia: The Politics of National Integration. New York: Random House, 1972. "The Bureaucratic Polity as a Working System," Ch.10, published in John Ravenhill, ed. The Political Economy of East Asia. London" Edward Elgar Pub., 1994
1964. Administration in Developing Countries: The Theory of Prismatic Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Published in Korean, 1966; and in Portuguese, as Administracao nos Paises em Desenvolvimento--A Teoria de Sociedade Prismatica. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Getulio Vargas Foundation, 1968. Excerpts reprinted in Michael D. Reagan, ed. The Administration of Public Policy. Palo Alto, CA: Scott, Foresman, 1969. pp. 33-43.
1962. "The Prevalence of 'Clects'." The American Behavioral Scientist. 5:10. pp. 15-18.
1950. Pressures on Congress: A Study of the Repeal of Chinese Exclusion. (New York: King's Crown Press. 260 pages. (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University). Reprinted, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972.
1949. "Arab Refugees from Palestine: A World Problem." American Perspective. 33:5
1947. "U. S. Legislation Affecting Asiatics. Far Eastern Survey. (April 23 and May 21)
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