Book Chapter

Demonstrating ethnicity and social class: the Colombian-Lebanese in Bogota


The Colombian-Lebanese community in Bogota, composed largely of upper- and middle-class families, has existed for over 100 years and maintains several cultural, social, and religious organisations. First arriving in Colombia in the late-nineteenth century, Lebanese immigration has greatly diminished since the 1930s, excepting slight temporary increases during Middle Eastern conflicts and hardship. Lebanese migrants were – and continue to be – diverse in terms of background, political ideology, religious beliefs, ethnic identification and economic means; however, today, the community’s active members are all upper- and middle-class individuals. This chapter focuses on those active community members who are vocal about their membership to the community. It builds on Alfaro-Velcamp’s (2013) argument that descendants of Lebanese immigrants in Latin America have used their Lebaneseness as a mark of foreignness to strengthen their position in society. This mechanism works in a dual capacity: their foreignness allows them to maintain their position in society, whilst their upper- and middle-class status helps them maintain the status of the community, promote its interests, and largely portray their ethnicity on their own terms. Based on ethnographic research and interviews, the chapter explores expressions of citizenship through participation in public demonstrations as an example of this duality.

Attached files


Devis-Amaya, Esteban

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of English and Modern Languages


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-07-26

All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Demonstrating ethnicity and social class: The Colombian-Lebanese in Bogota
This RADAR resource is Part of Citizenship in the Latin American upper and middle classes [ISBN: 9780815353928] / edited by Fiorella Montero-Diaz, Franka Winter.


  • Owner: Unknown user
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 454