Comparing the Basque diaspora : ethnonationalism, transnationalism and identity maintenance in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Peru, the United States of America, and Uruguay
Through a comparison of Basque diaspora populations in six countries, this thesis describes and analyzes ethnicity maintenance, transnational consciousness, and ethnonational tendencies of self-defining Basques. I argue that despite geographical and generational differences, the core elements of Basque identity are defined in a constant manner, and ethnic institutions have developed according to similar patterns. I categorize these populations as 'diaspora' utilizing Cohen's definition, and give examples of their (1) traumatic dispersal from an original homeland; (2) expansion from the homeland in pursuit of colonial ambitions, trade, or work; (3) shared myth and collective memory of their homeland; (4) idealization of their homeland; (5) return movement; (6) sustained strong ethnic group consciousness; (7) sense of solidarity with co-ethnic members in other countries; and (8) distinctive and enriched lives in tolerant host countries. I suggest chain migration and consistent interaction with the homeland have strengthened transnational ties and diasporic consciousness. Contemporary relations between Basque diaspora communities and the Basque Government have fomented and reinvigorated ethnicity maintenance for many from the thirty-eight Basque associations represented. Tajfel's 'positive social identity' theory aids in partially explaining ethnic identity preservation in Uruguay, Argentina and some areas of the United States, though respondents in Australia, Peru, and Belgium tend to employ primordialist vocabulary to interpret their persistent ethnonationalism. While homeland definitions of "Basqueness" have progressed to a more civic and inclusive nationalism, diaspora definitions tend to follow the traditional conservativism of Sabino Arana and ancestry, language, and religion. A multimethod approach creates original quantitative and qualitative data from 832 written anonymous questionnaires and 348 personal interviews. SPSS empirical data analysis facilitated cross-tabulations and comparisons.