Panethnicity

Authored by: Yen Le Espiritu

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493

10.4324/9780203863299.ch20

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Abstract

Panethnicity refers to the development of bridging organizations and the generalization of solidarity among ethnic subgroups that are perceived to be homogeneous by outsiders (Lopez and Espiritu 1990: 198). Contemporary research on panethnicity indicates that panethnic identities are self-conscious products of political choice and actions, not of inherited phenotypes, bloodlines, or cultural traditions. Panethnic movements and organizations bring groups with seemingly distinct histories and separate identities together in cooperation around shared political and economic goals—to protect and advance their collective interests. While institutional panethnicity has been extensively studied, far less attention has been paid to the ways in which individuals experience, understand, and respond to the panethnic label. The available evidence indicates that panethnic identity is generally a secondary identity that coexists, at times uncomfortably, with ethnonational identities. The chapter focuses primarily on panethnic groups in the United States, but ends with comparative examples of how panethnicity operates in other countries and globally.

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