Panethnicity has become a significant form of identification across the globe. Categories, such as Latino and Asian American, but also identities, such as Yoruba and European, have been embraced by a growing number of individuals and institutions. In this article, we focus on three main issues: panethnic identification, the conditions under which panethnic categories are constructed, and recent directions in the field. We argue that panethnicity is characterized by a unique tension inherent in maintaining subgroup distinctions while generating a broader sense of solidarity. This tension distinguishes panethnicity as a form of ethnic expression because it places questions of subgroup diversity and cultural legitimacy at the forefront. As such, the study of panethnicity encourages researchers to take intragroup dynamics seriously and explore how conflicts between subgroups are often negotiated or muted in ethnic mobilization and categorization processes. We call for more research that moves beyond the US case study design and makes panethnic processes explicit in international research on race, ethnicity, and nationalism.


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