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Ethnogenesis (from the Greek ethnos ἔθνος, "group of people" or "nation", and genesis γένεσις, "origin, birth", pl. ethnogeneses) is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges. By self-invention, ethnic groups are "present at their own creation", in the phrase of E. P. Thompson. This recognition of culture creation has caused some historians to place traditional teleological nation-building narratives into the framework of legend, when they were once uncritically accepted as historical facts.

Contents

Passive or active ethnogenesis

Ethnogenesis can occur passively, in the accumulation of markers of group identity forged through interaction with the physical environment, cultural and religious divisions between sections of a society, migrations and other processes, for which ethnic subdivision is an unintended outcome. It can occur actively, as persons deliberately and directly 'engineer' separate identities in order to attempt to solve a political problem - the preservation or imposition of certain cultural values, power relations, etc. Since the late eighteenth century such attempts have often been related to language revival or creation of a new language, in what eventually becomes a "national literature".

In the twentieth century, societies challenged by the obsolescence of those narratives which previously afforded them coherence have fallen back on ethnic or racial narratives, as a means of maintaining or reaffirming their collective identity, or polis.

Inclusive or exclusive nationalism

Ethnogenesis can be promoted to include or exclude any ethnic minority living within a certain country. In France, the integrationalist policy of the French Republic was inclusive; their laws stated all persons born and/or legally residing in France proper (including overseas departments and territories) were "Frenchmen". The law did not make any ethnic distinctions nor racial categories in between the "French" people. All people in France were Frenchmen and became citizens of the French Republic as far the country's law was concerned.

Two forms of nationalism were used in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. After WWII in the Tito era, nationalism was appealed to for uniting South Slav peoples. Later in the 20th century, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, leaders appealed to ancient ethnic feuds or tensions that ignited conflict between the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, as well Bosnians, Montenegrins and Macedonians. The conflicts destroyed the formerly communist republic and produced the civil wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992-95. Serbians, Croatians and Bosniaks insisted they were ethnically distinct although many communities had a long history of intermarriage. All could speak the common Serbo-Croatian Language. People used ethnic and religious differences to gain power, and in the process broke up the long collaboration of peoples and carried out ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

Language revival

Language has been a critical asset for authenticating ethnic identities. The process of reviving an antique ethnic identity often poses an immediate language challenge, as obsolescent languages lack expressions for contemporary experiences. In Europe in the 1990s, examples of proponents of ethnic revivals were from Celtic fringes in Wales and nationalists in the Basque country. Activists' attempts in the 1970s to revive the Occitan language in southern France was a similar attempt.

Similarly, in the 19th century, the Fennoman Grand Duchy of Finland aimed to raise the Finnish language from peasant-status to the position of an official national language, which had been only Swedish for some time. The Fennoman also founded the Finnish Party to pursue their nationalist aims. The publication in 1835 of the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, was a founding stone of Finnish nationalism and ethnogenesis. Finnish was recognized as the official language of Finland only in 1892. Fennomans were opposed by the Svecomans, headed by Axel Olof Freudenthal (1836-1911). He supported continuing the use of Swedish as the official language (it had been a minority language used by the educated elite in government and administration.) In line with contemporary scientific racism theories, Freudenthal believed that Finland had two "races", one speaking Swedish and the other Finnish. The Svecomans claimed that the Swedish "Germanic race" was superior to the majority Finnish people. In Ireland, revival of Gaelic was part of the reclaiming of Irish identity in the republic.

Language has been an important and divisive political force in Belgium between the Dutch/Germanic Flemings and Franco-Celtic Walloons since the country was created in 1831. Switzerland's polity is somewhat divided among German-speaking "Alemmanic" or Schweiz against the French-speaking Romandies or Arpitians, and the Italian/Romansh-speaking minorities in the south and east.

In Italy there were ethnological as well linguistic differences between regional groups, from the Lombardians of the North to the Sicilians of the south. Mountainous terrain had allowed the development of relatively isolated communities and numerous dialects before unification in the 19th century.

Religion

The set of cultural markers that accompanies each of the major religions may become a component of distinct ethnic identities, although the do not usually exist in isolation. Ethnic definitions are subject to change over time, both within and outside groups. For example, 19th-century Europeans classified Jews and Arabs as one 'ethnic' bloc, the Semites or Hamites. Later the term Hamites came to be associated with Sub-Saharan Africans instead.

Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim followers have historically been aligned with ethnicities (and later nations) speaking different languages and having different cultures. arise on the basis of the languages which followers of each religion historically favoured:[citation needed] (Latin and Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Arabic, respectively). The sources of religious differentiation are contested among sociologists and among anthropologists, as much as between the faith groups themselves.

The line between a well-defined religious sect and a discrete ethnicity cannot be sharply defined. Sects which most observers would accept as constituting a separate ethnicity usually have, as a minimum, a firm set of rules related to maintenance of endogamy, censuring those who 'marry-out' or who fail to raise their children in the proper faith. Examples might include:

  • Amish[citation needed].

Geography

Geographical factors can lead to both cultural and genetic isolation from larger human societies. Groups which settle remote habitats and intermarry over generations will acquire distinctive cultural and genetic traits, evolving from cultural continuity and through interaction with their unique environmental circumstances. Ethnogenesis in these circumstances typically results in an identity that is less value-laden than one forged in contradistinction to competing populations. Particularly in pastoral mountain peoples, social organization tends to hinge primarily on familial identification, not a wider collective identity.

Specific cases

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The Goths

Herwig Wolfram offers "a radically new explanation of the circumstances under which the Goths were settled in Gaul, Spain and Italy".[1] Since "they dissolved at their downfall into a myth accessible to everyone" at the head of a long history of attempts to lay claim to a "Gothic" tradition, the ethnogenesis by which disparate bands came to self-identify as "Goths" is of wide interest and application. The problem is in extracting a historical ethnography from sources that are resolutely Latin and Roman-oriented.

The Amerindian North American Southwest

With the arrival of the Spanish in southwestern North America, the Native Americans of the Jumanano cultural sphere underwent social changes partly in reaction, which spurred their ethnogenesis, Clayton Anderson has observed. [2] Ethnogenesis in the Texas plains and along the coast took two forms: a disadvantaged group identified with a stronger group and became absorbed into it, on the one hand, and on the other hand, cultural institutions were modified and in a sense reinvented. The seventeenth-century Jumanano disintegration, a collapse in part due to widespread deaths due to introduced diseases, was followed by their reintegration as Kiowa, Nancy Hickerson has argued.[3] Exterior stresses that produced ethnogenetic shifts preceded the arrival of the Spanish and their horse culture: recurring cycles of drought had previously forced non-kin to band together or to disband and mobilize. Inter-tribal hostilities forced weaker groups to associate with stronger ones.

Creation of the Moldovan identity in the Soviet Union

The separate Moldovan ethnic identification was promoted under Soviet rule when the Soviet Union set up an autonomous Moldavian ASSR in 1924. It was set apart from the Ukrainian SSR on part of the territory between the Dniester and Bug rivers (Transnistria). The scholar Charles King concluded[4] that this action was in part a prop to Soviet propaganda and help for a potential communist revolution in Romania. At first a Moldovan ethnicity supported territorial claims to the then-Romanian territories of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. After the Soviet occupation of the two territories in 1940, potential re-unification claims were offset by the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The recognition of Moldovans as a separate ethnicity, distinct from Romanians, remains today a controversial subject. On one side, the Moldovan Parliament adopted in 2003 "The Concept on National Policy of the Republic of Moldova", which states that Moldovans and Romanians are two distinct peoples and speak two different languages, that Romanians form an ethnic minority in Moldova, and that the Republic of Moldova is the legitimate successor to the Principality of Moldavia. On the other side, Moldovans are recognized as a distinct ethnic group only by former Soviet states.

Moreover, in Romania, people from Wallachia and Transylvania call the Romanians inhabiting western Moldavia, now part of Romania, as Moldovans. People in Romanian Moldova call themselves Moldovans, as subethnic denomination, and Romanians, as ethnic denomination (like Kentish and English for English people living in Kent). Romanians from Romania call the Romanians of Republic of Moldova Bessarabians, as identification inside the subethnic group, Moldovans as subethnic group and Romanians as ethnic group. The same way, Romanians of southern Bukovina (today part of Romania and former part of the historical Moldova) are called Bukovinans, Moldovans and Romanians.

In the 2004 Moldovan census, of the 3,383,332 people living in Moldova, 16.5% (558,508) chose Romanian as their mother tongue, whereas 60% chose Moldovan. While 40% of all urban Romanian/Moldovan speakers indicated Romanian as their mother tongue, in the countryside barely one out of seven Romanian/Moldovan speakers indicated Romanian as his mother tongue.[5]

Ethnogenesis in historical scholarship

Within the historical profession, the term "ethnogenesis" has been borrowed as a neologism to explain the origins and evolution of so-called barbarian ethnic cultures,[6] stripped of its metaphoric connotations drawn from biology, of "natural" birth and growth. This view is closely associated with the Austrian historian Herwig Wolfram and his followers, who argued that such ethnicity was not a matter of genuine genetic descent ("tribes"), as in Isidore of Seville's definition of gens.[7]

Rather, using Reinhard Wenskus' term Traditionskerne ("nuclei of tradition")[8], ethnogenesis arose from small groups of aristocratic warriors carrying ethnic traditions from place to place and generation to generation. Followers would coalesce or disband around these nuclei of tradition; ethnicities were available to those who wanted to participate in them with no requirement of being born into a "tribe". Thus questions of race and place of origin became secondary.

Proponents of ethnogenesis may claim it is the only alternative to the sort of ethnocentric and nationalist scholarship that is commonly seen in disputes over the origins of many ancient peoples such as the Franks, Goths, and Huns.[9] It has also been used as an alternative to the Near East's "race history" that had supported Phoenicianism and claims to the antiquity of the variously called Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac peoples.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Wolfram, Thomas J. Dunlap, tr.History of the Goths (1979, 1988) Preface, p. x
  2. ^ See Clayton Anderson, The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Reinvention (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press) 1999; a broader scope is included in the articles in Jonathan D. Hill (ed.), History, Power, and Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492-1992, (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press) 1996.
  3. ^ Nancy Parrott Hickerson, The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains (University of Texas Press) 1996.
  4. ^ Charles King, The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture, Hoover Institution Press, 2000:54.
  5. ^ National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova: Census 2004
  6. ^ Walter Pohl. "Aux origines d'une Europe ethnique. Transformations d'identites entre Antiquite et Moyen Age". Annales HSS 60 (2005): 183-208, and Pohl, "Conceptions of Ethnicity in Early Medieval Studies" Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings, ed. Lester K. Little and Barbara H. Rosenwein, (Blackwell), 1998, pp 13-24.(On-line text).
  7. ^ Gens est multitude ab uno principle orta ("a people [gens] is a multitude stemming from one origin") which, significantly, continues in the original (Etymologiae IX.2.i) "sive ab alia natione secundum propriam collectionem distincta ("or distinguished from another people by its proper ties").
  8. ^ Wenskus' comparative study of German ethnogeneses is Stammesbildung und Verfassung (Cologne and Graz) 1961
  9. ^ Michael Kulikowski (2006). Rome's Gothic Wars. Cambridge University Press. Page 53

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Ethnogenesis
by Henry Timrod

Contents

I

Hath not the morning dawned with added light?
And shall not evening call another star
Out of the infinite regions of the night,
To mark this day in Heaven? At last, we are
A nation among nations; and the world
Shall soon behold in many a distant port

Another flag unfurled!

Now, come what may, whose favor need we court?
And, under God, whose thunder need we fear?

Thank Him who placed us here

Beneath so kind a sky -- the very sun
Takes part with us; and on our errands run
All breezes of the ocean; dew and rain
Do noiseless battle for us; and the Year,
And all the gentle daughters in her train,
March in our ranks, and in our service wield

Long spears of golden grain!

A yellow blossom as her fairy shield,
June flings her azure banner to the wind,

While in the order of their birth

Her sisters pass, and many an ample field
Grows white beneath their steps, till now, behold,

Its endless sheets unfold

THE SNOW OF SOUTHERN SUMMERS! Let the earth
Rejoice! beneath those fleeces soft and warm

Our happy land shall sleep
In a repose as deep
As if we lay intrenched behind

Whole leagues of Russian ice and Arctic storm!

II

And what if, mad with wrongs themselves have wrought,
In their own treachery caught,
By their own fears made bold,
And leagued with him of old,

Who long since in the limits of the North
Set up his evil throne, and warred with God --
What if, both mad and blinded in their rage,
Our foes should fling us down their mortal gage,
And with a hostile step profane our sod!
We shall not shrink, my brothers, but go forth
To meet them, marshaled by the Lord of Hosts,
And overshadowed by the mighty ghosts
Of Moultrie and of Eutaw -- who shall foil
Auxiliars such as these? Nor these alone,

But every stock and stone
Shall help us; but the very soil,

And all the generous wealth it gives to toil,
And all for which we love our noble land,
Shall fight beside, and through us; sea and strand,

The heart of woman, and her hand,

Tree, fruit, and flower, and every influence,

Gentle, or grave, or grand;
The winds in our defence

Shall seem to blow; to us the hills shall lend

Their firmness and their calm;

And in our stiffened sinews we shall blend

The strength of pine and palm!

III

Nor would we shun the battle-ground,
Though weak as we are strong;

Call up the clashing elements around,

And test the right and wrong!

On one side, creeds that dare to teach
What Christ and Paul refrained to preach;
Codes built upon a broken pledge,
And Charity that whets a poniard's edge;
Fair schemes that leave the neighboring poor
To starve and shiver at the schemer's door,
While in the world's most liberal ranks enrolled,
He turns some vast philanthropy to gold;
Religion, taking every mortal form
But that a pure and Christian faith makes warm,
Where not to vile fanatic passion urged,
Or not in vague philosophies submerged,
Repulsive with all Pharisaic leaven,
And making laws to stay the laws of Heaven!
And on the other, scorn of sordid gain,
Unblemished honor, truth without a stain,
Faith, justice, reverence, charitable wealth,
And, for the poor and humble, laws which give,
Not the mean right to buy the right to live,

But life, and home, and health!

To doubt the end were want of trust in God,

Who, if he has decreed
That we must pass a redder sea

Than that which rang to Miriam's holy glee,

Will surely raise at need
A Moses with his rod!

IV

But let our fears -- if fears we have -- be still,
And turn us to the future! Could we climb
Some mighty Alp, and view the coming time,
The rapturous sight would fill

Our eyes with happy tears!

Not only for the glories which the years
Shall bring us; not for lands from sea to sea,
And wealth, and power, and peace, though these shall be;
But for the distant peoples we shall bless,
And the hushed murmurs of a world's distress:
For, to give labor to the poor,

The whole sad planet o'er,

And save from want and crime the humblest door,
Is one among the many ends for which

God makes us great and rich!

The hour perchance is not yet wholly ripe
When all shall own it, but the type
Whereby we shall be known in every land
Is that vast gulf which lips our Southern strand,
And through the cold, untempered ocean pours
Its genial streams, that far off Arctic shores
May sometimes catch upon the softened breeze
Strange tropic warmth and hints of summer seas.


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Ethnogenesis (From Greek: ethnos(nation)+"genesis(birth), Greek: Εθνογένεσις) is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges. By self-reinvention ethnic groups are "present at their own creation", in the phrase of E. P. Thompson, setting traditional teleological nation-building narratives, that were once uncritically accepted as history, into the framework of legend.

Contents

Passive or active ethnogenesis

Ethnogenesis can occur passively, in the accumulation of markers of group identity forged through interaction with the physical environment, cultural and religious divisions between sections of a society, migrations and other processes, for which ethnic subdivision is an unintended outcome. It can occur actively, as persons deliberately and directly 'engineer' separate identities in order to attempt to solve a political problem - the preservation or imposition of certain cultural values, power relations, etc. Since the late eighteenth century such attempts have often been related to language revival or creation of a new language, in what eventually becomes a "national literature." Furthermore, in the twentieth century, societies challenged by the obsolescence of those narratives which previously afforded them coherence can fall back on ethnic or racial narratives, as a means of maintaining or reaffirming their collective identity, or polis.

Language revival

Language is a critical asset for authenticating ethnic identities. The process of reviving an antique ethnic identity often poses an immediate language challenge, as obsolescent languages will lack expressions for contemporary experiences. In Europe in the 1990s, proponents of ethnic revivals are from the Celtic fringes in Wales and the Basque country. The rebirth of Occitan language in some activist groups in the 1970s in France is a similar attempt, as well as the Fennoman in 19th century Grand Duchy of Finland which aimed to intensify the language strife and to raise the Finnish language from peasant-status to the position of a national language and status. The Fennoman also founded the Finnish Party to pursue their nationalist aims. The publication in 1835 of the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, was a founding stone of Finnish nationalism and ethnogenesis, while Finnish became the official language of Finland only in 1892. Fennomans were opposed by the Svecomans, headed by Axel Olof Freudenthal (1836-1911), who supported the use of Swedish and considered, according to scientific racism contemporary theories, that Finland harbored two "races", one speaking Swedish and the other Finnish. The Svecomans claimed that the Swedish, "Germanic race," was superior to the Finnish people.

Religion

The set of cultural markers that accompanies each of the major religions may become a component of distinct ethnic identities, although one does not necessarily recovers the others. Furthermore, the definition may be subject to change over time (for example, in 19th Century Europe it would be commonplace to conceive of Jews and Arabs as one 'ethnic' bloc, the Semites ). Powerful distinctions between - for example - Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim ethnicities arise on the basis of languages each religion historically favoured (Latin and Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Arabic respectively). The sources of religious differentiation are contested, among sociologists and among anthropologists as much as between the faith groups themselves.

Furthermore, the line between a well-defined religious sect and a discrete ethnicity cannot be sharply defined. Sects which most observers would accept as constituting a separate ethnicity usually have, as a minimum, a firm set of rules censuring those who 'marry-out' or who fail to raise their children in the proper faith. Examples might include:

Geography

Geographical factors can lead to both cultural and genetic isolation from wider human society. Groups which settle remote habitats and intermarry over generations will acquire distinctive cultural and genetic traits, evolving from the information brought with them and through interaction with their unique environmental circumstances. Ethnogenesis in these circumstances typically results in an identity which is less value-laden than one forged in contradistinction to competing populations. Particularly in pastoral mountain peoples, social organization tends to hinge primarily on familial identification, not a wider collective identity.

Specific case I: the creation of the Moldovan identity in the Soviet Union

The separate Moldovan ethnic denomination was promoted under Soviet rule in the 1920s, first to support territorial claims to the then-Romanian territories of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, and then, after the occupation of the two in 1940, to counter potential re-unification claims.

The recognition of Moldovans as a separate ethnicity, distinct from Romanians, is today a controversial subject. On one side, the Moldovan Parliament (which had a Communist majority) adopted in 2003 "The Concept on National Policy of the Republic of Moldova", which states that Moldovans and Romanians are two distinct peoples and speak two different languages, Romanians form an ethnic minority in Moldova, and that the Republic of Moldova is the legitimate successor to the Principality of Moldavia. On the other side, Moldovans are recognized as a distinct ethnic group only by former Soviet states. For instance, in the United States, no difference is made between Romanians and Moldovans. In the 2004 census, out of the 3,383,332 people living in Moldova, 16.5% (558,508) chose Romanian as their mother tongue, whereas 60% chose Moldovan. While 40% of all urban Romanian/Moldovan speakers chose Romanian as their mother tongue, in the country side hardly each 7th Romanian/Moldovan speaker indicated Romanian as his mother tongue.[1]

Specific case II: the Amerindian North American Southwest

With the arrival of the Spanish in southwestern North America, the Native Americans of the Jumanano cultural sphere underwent social changes partly in reaction, which spurred their ethnogenesis, Clayton Anderson has observed. [2] Ethnogenesis in the Texas plains and along the coast took two forms: a disadvantaged group identified with a stronger group and became absorbed into it, on the one hand, and on the other hand, cultural institutions were modified and in a sense reinvented. The seventeenth-century Jumanano disintegration, a collapse in part engendered through introduced diseases, was followed by their reintegration as Kiowa, Nancy Hickerson has argued.[3] The exterior stresses that produced ethnogenetic shifts preceded the arrival of the Spanish and their horse culture: recurring cycles of drought had previously forced non-kin to band together or to disband and mobilize, and inter-tribal hostilities forced weaker groups to associate with stronger ones.

Ethnogenesis in historical scholarship

Within the historical profession, the term "ethnogenesis" has been borrowed as a neologism to explain the origins and evolution of so-called barbarian ethnic cultures,[4]

Notes

  1. ^ National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova: Census 2004
  2. ^ See Clayton Anderson, The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Reinvention (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press) 1999; a broader scope is included in the articles in Jonathan D. Hill (ed.), History, Power, and Identity: Ethnogenesis in the Americas, 1492-1992, (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press) 1996.
  3. ^ Nancy Parrott Hickerson, The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains (University of Texas Press) 1996.
  4. ^ Walter Pohl (2006). Rome's Gothic Wars. Cambridge University Press. Page 53

See also


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Ethnogenesis. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

This article uses material from the "Ethnogenesis" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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