Separatism is the advocacy of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. As with secession, separatism conventionally refers to full political separation. Groups simply seeking greater autonomy are not separatist as such.[1] Some critics[who?] equate separatism with religious segregation, racial segregation, or sex segregation, but most separatists[who?] argue that separation by choice may serve useful purposes and is not the same as government-enforced segregation. There is some academic debate about this definition, and in particular how it relates to secessionism, as has been discussed online.[2]

Separatist groups practice a form of identity politics, or political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of the group's members. Such groups believe attempts at integration with dominant groups compromise their identity and ability to pursue greater self-determination.[3] However, economic and political factors usually are critical in creating strong separatist movements as opposed to less ambitious identity movements.[4]