International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Ethnicity, Bureaucracy and State-Building in Africa and Latin America

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This article focuses on ethnicity, bureaucracy and state-building in Africa and Latin America. It is difficult to fully understand the process and implications of state-building without taking explicit account of ethnicity. Ethnicity has indeed been exploited by state-builders, pre-modern and modern. Furthermore, ethnic identification is certainly dynamic and can wax and wane over time. But neither of these characteristics, its potential for manipulation and its dynamism justifies avoidance of the concept. Quite the contrary, to dissect and explain processes by which institutions of the state are expanded and centralized requires an analysis of conditions that link ethnic groups to political change. The conventional models adopted to analyze the state bureaucracy the rational-functional model and the representative model do allow for the discussion of ethnicity, but in quite an unsatisfactory manner. Ethnicity analytical value is greatest in the examination of state power, its accumulation, limitations and uses. The model of bureaucracy that is most realistic is one that underscores the power and systemic dimensions of the institution. In such a model ethnicity relevance is not just as a measure of rationality of individual mobility. Ethnicity becomes an indicator of the extent to which nationalist ambitions have overwhelmed nationalist mobilization.

Publication Title

Ethnic and Racial Studies

Publication Date

1-1-1978

Volume

1

Issue

3

First Page

336

Last Page

351

ISSN

0141-9870

DOI

10.1080/01419870.1978.9993237

Keywords

ethnicity, ethnic groups, multiculturalism, bureaucracy, group identity, ethnology

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