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Ethnic identities are socially defined cultural contracts. Reworkings take place according to historic changes as well as in specific social situations. To speak about identity of 'X'-s and of 'Y'-s is a complex issue mainly in diasporic contexts where a uniform or homogeneous identity of the specific ethnic categories and groups is hardly accepted. In spite of this, in public discourse it is common to speak about the identity of Hungarian-Americans for instance. Based on historical and contemporary investigations of Hungarian immigrants and their descendants in the United States the paper analyses the complexity of ethnic identities. It does so in particular by raising the problem of ethnic identity from two directions: on the one hand, taking into account the differing situation of those who emigrated and of their descendants and, on the other hand, on the basis of theoretical considerations. Variants of ethnic self and group identification is related to historical flows of immigrants, size and composition of population concerned as well as to power relations.

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