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Reading: A Push-Pull Model of Ethnic (Re)configuration in a Plural Society: Trinidad and Tobago

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Research Article

A Push-Pull Model of Ethnic (Re)configuration in a Plural Society: Trinidad and Tobago

Author:

Akhil Malaki

Abstract

The purpose of this essay is to attempt an analysis - albeit a preliminary one - of the shifting ethnic configurations in the plural society of Trinidad and Tobago with the help of a push-pull model. It basically argues that the boundaries of ethnic groups and identities can be fluid and can be redrawn depending on external and internal factors. These two factors, which I call push and pull factors, can alter the configuration of ethnic relations. External in the sense of forces that ethnic groups have little control over and yet these forces influence their behavior (colonialism, capitalist penetration, globalization and regionalization). Internal in the sense their relationships with other social groups with whom they have to coexist and even compete, politically and economically, within a national territory. A brief historical sketch is provided to illustrate how ethnic configurations have taken shape in Trinidad during the colonial and the post-colonial periods. The latter half of this presentation alludes to the impact of the current processes of globalization and regional integration on ethnic (re)configuration. The push-pull model used in this essay is adapted from Albert O. Hirschman’s (1979), Shifting Involvements. This is a dynamic model that helps explain changes and (re)configurations in ethnic relations.

How to Cite: Malaki, A., (2001). A Push-Pull Model of Ethnic (Re)configuration in a Plural Society: Trinidad and Tobago. Iberoamericana – Nordic Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 31(2), pp.103–117. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16993/ibero.132
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Published on 01 Jun 2001.
Peer Reviewed

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