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Ethnicity, national identity and the state: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

Green, Elliott D. ORCID: 0000-0002-0942-5756 (2020) Ethnicity, national identity and the state: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. British Journal of Political Science, 50 (2). 757 - 779. ISSN 0007-1234

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0007123417000783


The process by which people transfer their allegiance from ethnic to national identities is highly topical yet somewhat opaque. This article argues that one of the key determinants of national identification is membership in a ‘core’ ethnic group, or Staatsvolk, and whether or not that group is in power. It uses the example of Uganda as well as Afrobarometer data to show that, when the core ethnic group is in power (as measured by the ethnic identity of the president), members of this group identify more with the nation, but when this group is out of power members identify more with their ethnic group. This finding has important implications for the study of nationalism, ethnicity and African politics.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 09:22
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:37

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