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Open Access Publications from the University of California

World Cultures eJournal

UC Irvine

Deriving Ethno-geographical Clusters for Comparing Ethnic Differentials in Zambia


This article derives seven ethno-geographical clusters comprising ethnic societies with similar histories, regional settlements and common kinship lineage arrangements. The procedure reveals the origin of social diversity in Zambia. To explore the usefulness of these clusters, we apply population counts to explain the genesis of the seven ‘official’ languages from several Zambian languages. Comparing and contrasting ethno-geographical clusters reveals features underlying ethnic similarities and differences in Zambia. We resolve that common origin and migrations that occurred between the twelfth and nineteenth century define ethnic distinctions in Zambia. These characteristics provide a lens through which we can place and analyze current social, linguistic, political, and demographic forces. Compared to provincial administrative regions, ethno-geographical clusters are useful units-of-analysis for comparing ethnic differentials in Zambia.

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