Multi-ethnic state

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Multi-ethnic state or nationality state is a term for mostly historical states that extend over the settlement area or the cultural and linguistic area of several peoples and ethnic groups ( nationalities ). The multiethnic state is therefore not ethnically homogeneous and can be distinguished from the single-people state or nation state , which (primarily) consists of only one people (nationality).

The inhabitants of a multi-ethnic state form a legal community through their common citizenship , even if they consist of different ethnic groups .

To the subject

The term multi-ethnic state is usually used in the sense of an illustrative designation, not as an analytical category. There are no uniform criteria under which conditions can be spoken of as a multi-ethnic state, nor are there any theoretical consequences associated with it. In international usage, the term multinational state ( Engl. Multinational state ) or "polyethnic state" more frequently than terms like multi-ethnic state or plurinational state found.

One definition emphasizes the fact that it is a territorially limited political ruling organization whose (national) members belong to different peoples or ethnic groups who are legally equal or who are granted at least a minimum of self-determination .

As an epithet (epithet), the term is regularly used in connection with Austria-Hungary , the Soviet Union , the Ottoman Empire and Yugoslavia and, more recently, for the PR China , India , Russia and also countries such as Iran or South Africa . Even after the end of the British Empire , the United Kingdom still regards itself as a multi-ethnic state consisting of four nations (which, for example, compete in sports competitions with their own national teams ).

The Switzerland with a few ethnic groups and as a model for the liberal multinational state saw itself at times as a model for a multi-ethnic state , so for a federalism on ethnic , linguistic and religious affiliations of time, with the task of balancing the voice of stalls and citizens. Countries such as Malaysia , Lebanon or Belgium can also be viewed as multi-ethnic states , although they can only be compared to Switzerland to a limited extent. However, the term multi- ethnic state is rarely used, as the term multi- ethnic state is mostly used (also synonymously) . Since 2009, the plurinational state of Bolivia has explicitly described itself as a multi-ethnic state , which officially recognizes the numerous indigenous peoples living within its national territory as nations .

See also


  • Otto Bauer : The question of nationalities and social democracy. 2nd edition, Wiener Volksbuchhandlung, Vienna 1924.

Web links

Wiktionary: multi-ethnic state  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See Hannah Arendt : Elements and origins of total domination. Anti-Semitism, imperialism, total domination . 14th edition, Munich 2011, p. 561.
  2. Christoph Schnellbach: Vielvölkerstaat , in: Online encyclopedia on the culture and history of Germans in Eastern Europe ( online ), 2016 (as of July 29, 2016).
  3. Klemens Ludwig: Multiethnic China. The national minorities in the Middle Kingdom , CH Beck, Munich 2009.
  4. ^ India - multiethnic state and second largest country in the world , , accessed on October 26, 2014.
  5. Manfred Quiring : Russia. Orientation in the giant realm , Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86153-471-6 , p. 171 .
  6. Iran: Fragile multi-ethnic state , FAZ from June 16, 2009.
  7. Guido Pinkau: Guest in South Africa: Understanding and experiencing foreign cultures. 1st edition 2010, Iwanowski's Reisebuchverlag, Dormagen. Ed .: Buch & Welt GmbH, Munich, ISBN 978-3-933041-88-3 , p. 30 ff.
  8. Martin Schwind : Allgemeine Staatsgeographie (= textbook of general geography, vol. 8), Walter de Gruyter, 1972, p. 222 .
  9. ^ Till Fähnders: Malaysia: Difficult living together. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 11, 2012, accessed April 18, 2015 .
  10. "Iraq could have become a multi-ethnic state like Switzerland". In: TagesWoche . March 1, 2015, accessed on April 18, 2015 : “Iraq, Mesopotamia, gave birth to the first cultures and the sophistication of the landscape shaped the people. The constitution on the two rivers, the common, diverse history - if you will, Iraq, like Lebanon, could have become a multi-ethnic state like Switzerland. "