1 a social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups [syn: segregation]
2 a disposition toward schism and secession from a larger group; the principles and practices of separatists; "separatism is a serious problem in Quebec"; "demands for some form of separatism on grounds of religion have been perceived as a threat to mainstream education"
- A theory or doctrine which supports a state
of separation between
other societal groups
(e.g. between church and
state) or between
a country and its
- She wrote an essay expounding the tenets of Scottish separatism.
- The practice of treating members of different societal groups
in a politically,
legally, or economically different
- Apartheid was a government-enformed form of separatism in which people received unequal social benefits based on race.''
Separatism refers to the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial or gender separation from the larger group, often with demands for greater political autonomy and even for full political secession and the formation of a new state. Depending on their political situation and views, groups may refer to their organizing as independence, self-determination, partition or decolonization movements instead of, or in addition to, autonomy, separatist or secession movements. While some critics may equate separatism and religious segregation, racial segregation or sexual segregation, separatists argue that separation by choice is not the same as government enforced segregation and serves useful purposes.Karen W. Arenson, CUNY Program to Help Black Men Is Called Discriminatory, New York Times, April 19, 2006.
Motivations for separatismGroups may have one or more motivations for separation, including:
- emotional resentment of rival communities
- justified resistance by victims of oppression, including denigration of their language, culture or religion
- propaganda by those who hope to gain politically from intergroup conflict and hatred
- the economic and political dominance of one group that does not share power and privilege in an egalitarian fashion
- economic motivations of seeking to end economic exploitation by more powerful group or, conversely, to escape economic redistribution from a richer to a poorer group
- preservation of threatened religous, language or other cultural tradition
- destabilization from one separatist movement giving rise to others
- geopolitical power vacuum from breakup of larger states or empires
- continuing fragmentation as more and more states break up.
Governmental responsesHow far separatist demands will go toward full independence, and whether groups pursue constitutional and nonviolent or armed violence, depend on a variety of economic, political and social factors, including movement leadership and the government’s response. Governments may respond in a number of ways, some of which are mutually exclusive. These may have little effect, satisfy separatist demands or even increase them.
- accede to separatist demands
- improve the circumstances of disadvantaged minorities, be they religious, linguistic, territorial, economic or political
- adopt “asymmetric federalism” where different states have different relations to the central government depending on separatist demands or considerations
- allow minorities to win in political disputes about which they feel strongly, through parliamentary voting, referendum, etc.
- settle for a confederation or a commonwealth relationship where there are only limited ties among states.
Types of separatist groupsSeparatist groups practice a form of identity politics - “political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups.” Such groups believe attempts at integration with dominant groups compromise their identity and ability to pursue greater self-determination. However, economic and political factors usually are critical in creating strong separatist movements from less active identity movements. The Pilgrims who established the first successful colony in New England were separatists.
- Zionism sought the creation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland.
- Muslim groups may seek to separate from each other, especially the Sunni and Shiite sects in Iraq and Lebanon.
- Russia, China, India and the Philippines have Muslim-separatist groups.
- Some British Muslims seek to have Sharia law recognized in predominantly Muslim areas of Britain.
- Indonesia currently has both Christian and Muslim separatist groups. Predominantly Christian East Timor separated from Indonesia in 2002.
- Members of animist and Christian tribes in Sudan seek to separate from the Muslim-dominated govenrment.
- Sikhs in India have long sought an independent nation of Khalistan.
EthnicEthnic separatism is based more on cultural and linguistic differences than religious or racial differences, which also may exist. Notable ethnic separatist movements include:
- the Kurdish people whose lands and peoples were divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran after World War I.
- Great Britain’s Scottish and Welsh separatists, who have won greater local autonomy
- Spain’s Basque and Catalan separatists
- the Soviet Union’s dissolution into its original ethnic groupings which formed their own nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Czechoslovakia’s split into ethnic Czech and Slovakian republics
- the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia dissolution into ethnic (and religious)-based Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.
- Switzerland’s division into cantons largely formed along ethnic and linguistic lines.
- Belgium granting Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia greater autonomy.
- French-speaking Quebec debating and voting on separation from Canada over several decades.
- Africa’s hundreds of ethnic groups are subsumed into 53 nation states, often leading to ethnic conflict and separatism, including in Angola, Algeria, Burundi, Congo and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
- the Nigerian civil war (also known as the Biafran war) during the 1960s among Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba; today’s ethnic and oil-related conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
- conflicts in Liberia between African-Liberians and Americo-Liberians, Africans who immigrated from the Americas after being freed from slavery.
- conflicts between Zulus and Xhosa in South Africa during and after apartheid.
- the 1994 Hutu campaign of genocide against minority Tutsis in Rwanda.
- Indian and Pakistani ethnic and linguistic groups seeking greater autonomy.
- China’s Han majority dominance, including immigration into previously independent Tibet, Xinjiang or Uygur regions leading to renewed separatist efforts in those regions.
RacialSome groups seek to separate from others along racialist lines. They oppose inter-marriage with other races and seek separate schools, businesses, churches and other institutions or even separate societies, territories and governments.
- Black separatism (or black nationalism) is a reaction to slavery in the United states and has been advanced by black leaders like Marcus Garvey and the Nation of Islam. Critical race theorists like New York University's Derrick Bell and University of Colorado's Richard Delgado argue the American legal, education and political party systems are rife with racism. They support efforts like all-black schools and dorms and question the efficacy of government-enforced integration. In 2008 statements by Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright, Jr. revived the issue of the current relevance of black separatism.
- Latino separatism, as embodied in the Chicano Movement (or Chicano nation ) in the United States sought to recreate Aztlán, the mythical homeland of the Aztecs comprising the Southwestern United States. They drew on the Latin American concepts of racial identity such as the bronze race and La Raza Cósmica. Today a small Raza Unida Party continues with that goal.
- White separatism in the United States and Western Europe seeks separation and survival of the white race and limits to immigration by non-whites. Most separatists now reject any ideology of white supremacy, though most still are demonized by advocacy groups.
GenderSeparatist feminism is women’s choosing to separate from male-defined, male-dominated institutions, relationships, roles and activities. Lesbian separatism advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism. Some separatist feminists and lesbian separatists have chosen to live apart in intentional community, cooperatives and on land trusts.
- List of historical autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of unrecognized countries
- List of ethnic groups
- List of indigenous peoples
- List of stateless ethnic groups
- Ethnic autonomous regions
- Ethnic cleansing
- Ethnic minority
- Ethnic nationalism
- Identity politics
- Kinship and Descent
- National minority
- Stateless nation
- Graham K. Brown, “Horizontal Inequalities, Ethnic Separatism and Violent Conflict: The Case of Aceh, Indonesia”, United Nations Human Development Report 2005 (PDF).
- Anthony Cordesman, “Pandora’s Box: Iraqi Federalism, Separatism, “Hard” Partitioning, and US Policy”, Working Draft, Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 9, 2007 (PDF).
- James Millard, “Violent Separatism in Xinjiang: A Critical Assessment”, East-West Centerhttp://www.eastwestcenter.org/ewc-in-washington/, 2004 (PDF).
- Ryan Griffiths, "Globalization, Development and Separatism: The Influence of External and Internal Economic Factors on the Strategy of Separatism" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th AAnnual Convention, Bridging Multiple Divides, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA, Mar 26, 2008 (PDF).
separatism in Tosk Albanian: Separatismus
separatism in Asturian: Independentismu
separatism in Bulgarian: Сепаратизъм
separatism in Catalan: Independentisme
separatism in Czech: Separatismus
separatism in Spanish: Separatismo
separatism in French: Indépendantisme
separatism in Korean: 분리주의
separatism in Indonesian: Separatisme
separatism in Italian: Indipendentismo
separatism in Georgian: სეპარატიზმი
separatism in Lithuanian: Separatizmas
separatism in Dutch: Separatisme
separatism in Japanese: 分離主義
separatism in Polish: Separatyzm
separatism in Portuguese: Independentismo
separatism in Russian: Сепаратизм
separatism in Slovak: Separatizmus
separatism in Finnish: Separatismi
separatism in Swedish: Separatism (sociologi)
separatism in Ukrainian: Сепаратизм
separatism in Chinese: 分離主義
abstraction, alienation, apartheid, detachment, disarticulation, disassociation, disconnectedness, disconnection, discontinuity, disengagement, disjointing, disjunction, dislocation, disunion, division, divorce, divorcement, incoherence, isolation, luxation, parting, partition, removal, segmentation, separateness, separation, subdivision, subtraction, withdrawal, zoning