digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















"Separatist" redirects here. For other uses, see Separatist (disambiguation).
For Wikipedia's meaning of separatism, see Separatism.

Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession,[1] separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy.[2] Some groups refer to their organizing as independence, self-determination, partition or decolonization movements instead of, or in addition to, autonomist, separatist or secession movements.[citation needed] While some critics may equate separatism and religious segregation, racist segregation, or sexist segregation, some separatists argue that separation by choice is not the same as government-enforced segregation and may serve useful purposes.[3][4][5][6][7]


Russian-speaking separatists at the "Donetsk People's Republic" in Ukraine, on May 9, 2014

Groups may have one or more motivations for separation, including:[8]

  • emotional resentment and hatred of rival communities.
  • protection from ethnic cleansing and genocide.
  • 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.
  • economic and political dominance of one group that does not share power and privilege in an egalitarian fashion.
  • detaching from generally accepted stereotypes and sacrificing more time to create happiness mote sustainability than the current flow of things.
  • economic motivations: 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 religious, 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.
  • feeling that the perceived nation was added to the larger state by illegitimate means.
  • the perception that the state can no longer support one's own group or has betrayed their interests.
  • opposition to political decisions.
  • wish to have a more practical political structure and not rely on people who are located far away to govern them or otherwise impractical solutions.

Governmental responses[edit]

In 1861, the American Civil War started after a separatist movement of southern U.S. states seceded from the United States.

How 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, social and cultural factors, including movement leadership[9] and the government's response.[10] Governments may respond in a number of ways, some of which are mutually exclusive. Some include:[11]

  • 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.

Some governments suppress any separatist movement in their own country, but support separatism in other countries.

Types of separatist groups[edit]

Separatist 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.[12] However, economic and political factors usually are critical in creating strong separatist movements as opposed to less ambitious identity movements.[10]

See more complete lists of historical and active autonomist and secessionist movements, as well as a list of unrecognized countries.

Religious separatism[edit]

A proposed flag for Khalistan, the independent Sikh state.

Religious separatist groups and sects want to withdraw from some larger religious groups and/or believe they should interact primarily with co-religionists.[citation needed]

  • English Christians in the 16th and 17th centuries who wished to separate from the Church of England and form independent local churches were influential politically under Oliver Cromwell, who was himself a separatist. They were eventually called Congregationalists.[13] The Pilgrims who established the first successful colony in New England were separatists.[14]
  • Christian separatist groups in Indonesia,[15][16] India[17] and South Carolina (United States).[18][19]
  • Zionism sought the creation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland. This resulted in religious separatism between the Jewish Israelis, and Muslim and Christian Palestinians following the Balfour Declaration. Simon Dubnow, who was ambivalent toward Zionism, formulated Jewish Autonomism which was adopted in eastern Europe by Jewish political parties such as the Bund and his own Folkspartei before World War II.[20] Zionism can also be seen as somewhat ethnic too, however, as its definition of who is Jewish has often included people of Jewish background who do not practice the Jewish religion.
  • The Partition of India and (later Pakistan and Bangladesh) arose as a result of separatism on the part of both Hindus and Muslims, as well as strong national identities on both sides.
  • India and Philippines have Muslim-separatist groups.[citation needed]
  • Sikhs in India sought an independent nation of Khalistan during the 1970s and 1980s. The Khalistan movement inside India that even involved the assassination of the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi as a retaliation of an Indian military operation Operation Blue Star directed against Sikh militants in the Sikhs' holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, in which many innocent Sikh civilians too lost their lives. The murder of Mrs. Indira Gandhi evoked a backlash in the form of mass murders of Sikhs in 1984, which only further strengthened the Khalistan Movement, but it largely subsided owing to the efforts of the police in Punjab, led by a Sikh police officer KPS Gill. However, some in the Sikh diaspora in the West and elsewhere, and even Sikhs in India, still support the idea of Khalistan, and there have been sporadic instances of violence for this cause, or attempts at the same, which have been foiled by India's intelligence agencies and security personnel.[21]

Ethnic separatism[edit]

Catalan independentist mural in Belfast.
Map of active separatist movements in Europe. Red names indicate regions with movements that only claim greater autonomy within the actual state. Black names indicate regions with important secessionist movements, although both categories include moderate movements. The nations highlighted in colors are the territories claimed by the local nationalist groups, including areas out of the state's borders and cases of annexation to other states (click to enlarge).
OLF rebels in Kenya armed with AK-47 rifles.
A Tuareg rebel fighter in northern Niger.
Silesians demonstrating in Katowice (in Silesia).

Ethnic separatism is based more on cultural and linguistic differences than religious or racial differences, which also may exist. Notable ethnic separatist movements include:

Racist separatism[edit]

Some separatist groups seek to separate from others along racist lines. They oppose marriage and association with members of other "races" and seek separate schools, businesses, churches and other institutions or even separate societies, territories, countries, and governments.

Territories considered for "Aztlán"

Geographic and socioeconomic separatism[edit]

Gender and sexist separatism[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Free Dictionary; Merriam Webster dictionary; The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current= English 2008.
  2. ^ Harris, R.; Harris, Jerry (2009). The Nation in the Global Era: Conflict and Transformation. Brill. p. 320. ISBN 90-04-17690-X. "9789004176904" 
  3. ^ Leo, John (June 13, 2007). "Let the Segregation Commence, Separatist graduations proliferate at UCLA". City Journal. 
  4. ^ Levit, Nancy (August 29, 2005). "Embracing Segregation: The Jurisprudence of Choice and Diversity in Race and Sex Separatism in Schools". University of Illinois Law Review (University of Illinois). p. 455. 
  5. ^ Arenson, Karen W. (April 19, 2006). "CUNY Program to Help Black Men Is Called Discriminatory". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Dobratz, Betty A.; Shanks-Meile, Stephanie L. (Summer 2006). "Strategy of White Separatism". Journal of Political and Military Sociology. 
  7. ^ Howell, Nancy B. "Radical Relatedness and Feminist Separatism". 
  8. ^ Spencer, Metta (1998). Separatism: Democracy and Disintegration. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 2–4. 
  9. ^ Link to: Chima, Jugdep. "Effects of Political Leadership on Ethnic Separatist Movements in India" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, April 12, 2007 (PDF); Chima, Jugdep. "How Does Political Leadership Affect the Trajectories of Ethnic Separatist Insurgencies?: Comparative Evidence from Movements in India" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C., September 01, 2005 (PDF).
  10. ^ a b See D.L. Horowitz's "Patterns of Ethnic Separatism", originally published in Comparative Studies in Society and History, 1981, vol 23, 165-95. Republished in John A. Hall, The State: Critical Concepts, Routledge, 1994.
  11. ^ Metta Spencer, 5-6.
  12. ^ "Identity Politics". Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Stanford University). November 2, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica on religious separatists". 
  14. ^ Goodwin, John Abbot (1888). The Pilgrim republic: an historical review of the colony of New Plymouth. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Christian separatist on trial in Indonesia". BBC. British Broadcasting Corporation. August 19, 2002. 
  16. ^ Brummitt, Chris (April 5, 2002). "Christian separatist leader threatens to raise independence flags in Maluku". Associated Press. 
  17. ^ Hussain, Syed Zarir (December 31, 2002). "Christian separatist group in Tripura target tribal Hindus". Indo-Asian News Service. 
  18. ^ "Christian separatist ready for new home". Ventura County Star. June 9, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Colorado Rep. disavows ties to SC Christian separatist group". Associated Press. October 9, 2005. 
  20. ^ Pinson, Koppel S. (1958). Simon Dubnow. pp. 13–69. 
  21. ^ Punj, Blbir (June 16, 2006). "The Ghost of Khalistan". Sikh Times. 
  22. ^ "Niger, hit by Tuareg revolt, adopts anti-terror law". Reuters. April 20, 2008. 
  23. ^ Mughal, Muhammad Aurang Zeb. 2012. Spain. Steven L. Denver (ed.), Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues, Vol. 3. Armonk, NY: M .E. Sharpe, pp. 674-675.
  24. ^ "Who were the Celts? ... Rhagor". Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales website. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  25. ^ The Bavaria's right to separate itself from the Federal Republic of Germany [1]
  26. ^ Harold E. Glass, Ethnic Diversity, Elite Accommodation and Federalism in Switzerland, Publius, Vol. 7, No. 4, Federalism and Ethnicity (Autumn, 1977), 31-48. Oxford University Press.
  27. ^ African Ethnicities University of Florida online library.
  28. ^ Excerpt from book Ethnic Conflicts in Africa, Okwudiba Nnoli, Distributed by African Books Collective, 1998, 417, University of Florida online library.
  29. ^ Emmy Godwin Irobi, Ethnic Conflict Management in Africa: A Comparative Case Study of Nigeria and South Africa, May, 2005, Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder.
  30. ^ a b Reviews of Katharine Adeney Federalism and Ethnic Conflict Regulation in India and Pakistan, Palgrame MacMillan, 2007.
  31. ^ Telangana
  32. ^ Muini, S.D. (1996). "10". Ethnicity and power in the contemporary world. Ethnic conflict, federalism, and democracy in India. United Nations University Press. 
  33. ^ "China issues call to crush Tibetan 'separatists'". Agence France-Presse. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  34. ^ a b Professor Predicts 'Hispanic Homeland', Associated Press, 2000
  35. ^ Foer, Franklin (November 23, 1997). "Racial Integration". Slate. 
  36. ^ Barlow, Rich (April 26, 2008). "Topic turns to Wright case". Boston Globe. 
  37. ^ Dobratz, Betty A.; Shanks-Meile, Stephanie L. (2000). The White Separatist Movement in the United States: "White Power, White Pride!". The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1–3, 10. 
  38. ^ Frye, Marilyn; Meyers, Diana Tietjens (1997). "Some Reflections on Separatism and Power". Feminist Social Thought: A Reader (Routledge). pp. 406–414. 
  39. ^ Joyce Cheney, Lesbian Land, Word Weavers Press, 1976.
  40. ^ Mark K. Bloodsworth-Lugo, In-Between Bodies: Sexual Difference, Race, and Sexuality, SUNY Press, 2007, ISBN 0-7914-7221-3
  41. ^ Richard D. Mohr, Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society, and Law, Columbia University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-231-06735-6

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separatism — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
12487 videos foundNext > 

Grounds for Divorce: Separatism haunts austerity-wracked EU

Pro-independence parties are now at the helm in Spain's Basque Country, while elections in Catalonia could bring about even more separatist forces to the for...

Separatism Causes & Effects an AQA Presentation

A presentation describing the challenges that separatism causes Pages: 260-265 AQA A2 textbook 104-107 MRN 'my revision notes' textbook Music = Taxidermist b...

Future Nations - Separatism in the world

LIKE & Share △ ------------------------------~ http://separatists-unite.forums-free.com/ ~~~~~~~~~Countries:~~~~~~~~~...

CrossTalk: Separatism Surge

Are concepts of self-determination and state sovereignty out of balance today? Should the Scots strive for independence? What about the Basques, the Cataloni...

Rex Murphy: Quebec Separatism

Rex Murphy on the "ungrateful talk of separatism" in Quebec right now.

Separatism in Scotland

Scots are heading to the polls in September to answer this question: Should Scotland become an independent country? The Agenda examines the issues behind the...

Canada and Quebec Separatism (Dispatch)

Stratfor Geopolitical Analyst Karen Hooper examines the Quebec separatist cause in light of the recent shooting and its possible impact on Canada and the Uni...

Bharat Ek Khoj - Episode 51 - Separatism

Nehru notes that during the post-mutiny period, all the leading man among Indian Muslim, including Sir Syed Ahmad Khan were products of the old traditional e...

Rebellion in Eastern Ukraine: Separatism or Self-Determination?

Russian political economist Aleksandr Buzgalin discusses the situation in Ukraine after the ceasefire ends and Kiev launches an offensive in the eastern regions.

Ukraine Anti-Terrorist Operation Attacked Pro-Russian Separatist | 14 May 2014 | FULL VIDEO

Ukraine Anti-Terrorist Operation Attacked Ukraine Anti-Terrorist Operation Attacked Ukraine Anti-Terrorist Operation Attacked Pro-Russian Separatist into Kra...

12487 videos foundNext > 

5679 news items

World Socialist Web Site

World Socialist Web Site
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:00:00 -0700

The Socialist Equality Party is campaigning in Scotland calling for a “No” vote in the referendum on independence on September 18 and for workers and youth to attend our public meetings. Teams have been campaigning in Glasgow city centre and ...

New York Times

New York Times
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 23:58:03 -0700

BEIJING — Ilham Tohti, the Uighur academic who is facing charges of separatism, has rejected the allegations that he was the ringleader of a group advocating the creation of an independent Uighur homeland in China's far western region of Xinjiang, his ...

The Economist

The Economist
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:35:35 -0700

With Spain's traditional parties in decline and Catalan separatism on the rise, they may soon be forced into a proper dialogue. The prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, missed one chance to start such a discussion when he met Catalonia's regional president ...

Kyiv Post

Kyiv Post
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 00:49:00 -0700

Argemino Barro: Four months of separatism in eastern Ukraine. Print version. Aug. 13, 2014, 10:46 a.m. | Op-ed — by Argemino Barro. New army recruits stand in front of a flag of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" during an oath taking ...


Sun, 03 Aug 2014 08:32:01 -0700

Central Asia Balks At Pandora's Box Of Separatism · On Russia's Borders, Opposition Mounts to Patriotic Symbol Ahead Of Victory Day · Georgia Crisis Highlights Kazakh Balancing Act. August 03, 2014. Few people now would recognize the name Viktor ...

The Guardian

ABC News
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 05:16:49 -0700

Tohti was detained in mid-January and later accused of separatism. Through his lawyer, he has firmly rejected accusations of advocating Xinjiang's independence from China. Such charges almost always end in conviction and a sentence of up to several ...
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 03:08:22 -0700

For decades, it seemed as if Quebec was practicing electricity separatism, while Ontario indulged in energy isolationism. Now, energy conservationists in both provinces are lobbying their governments with a sense of urgency. They hope to dissuade ...


Tue, 22 Jul 2014 04:34:20 -0700

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that increases the punishment for public calls for separatism. The Kremlin's website said on July 22 that the new minimum penalty for separatist calls will be a fine of between 10,000 and 30,000 rubles ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Separatism

You can talk about Separatism with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!