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Ethnicity and nationality among Ethiopians in Canada's census data: a consideration of overlapping and divergent identities.

  • Author(s): Thompson, Daniel K
  • et al.
Abstract

This article addresses the intersection of 'homeland' politics and diaspora identities by assessing whether geopolitical changes in Ethiopia affect ethno-national identifications among Ethiopian-origin populations living abroad. Officials in Ethiopia's largest ethnically-defined states recently began working to improve diaspora-homeland relations, historically characterised by ethnically-mobilized support for opposition and insurgency. The emergence of an 'Ethiopian-Somali' identity indicated in recent research, previously regarded as a contradiction in terms, is the most striking of a series of realignments between ethnicity and nationality. Such realignments reflect new orientations towards the homeland that impact diaspora engagement in politics and development. While diaspora returnees constitute a visible presence in some formerly marginalized areas of Ethiopia-including the historically disputed Somali region-large-sample data on ethnicity and nationality from Canadian censuses suggest that diaspora outreach efforts to historically marginalized groups have not (yet) effected large-scale changes in ethno-national identity, and that ongoing tensions in Ethiopia's federal politics may have different impacts on the identities of different ethnic populations.

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