Lecture Four: Migration: Assimilation or Integrate? [September 30, 2013]
- Assimilation as the approach towards immigration has fallen out of favor in the last ~20
- Alba’s piece is an effort to save the Assimilation Theory and repair the way it has been
discredited by theorists like Feagin and others.
Noorani, Nick. 2008. “Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants” http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=AvplrntfZqgMagazine author and book publisher based in Vancouver. Migrant from India by
way of Dubai.
- In the process of coming to Canada and establishing his career, he did work with many
other immigrant communities. He developed workshops, wrote books, workshops to
develop soft skills for immigrants.
- He articulates a message about Canada, migration, that is quite consistent with
assimilation theory and larger goals that host countries like to achieve with immigrants in
both the way they accept each other
- The message he endorses is one that people here, and government accepts
- Integral success: learn English, embrace Canada, stay positive, take risks, Volunteer
Old and New Assimilation
Alba, Richard & Victor Nee. 2003. “Introduction,” in Remaking the American Mainstream:
Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Assimilation Theory was the dominant way sociologists understood the categories of race
and ethnicity in NA.
- Assimilation, in the same way of Multiculturalism, is a big policy in terms of how to receive
immigrants in Canada.
- Infused Canadian politics and Canadian society, but also crucial in the formation of
American policies, racial and ethnic life. American idea was immigrants in the host
country would gradually lose aspects of their home culture and would be embracing the
culture of their new home. Classical old Assimilation Theory this kind of erasing of the
past, adopting the morals of the new country, is seen as positive. It was negative to
associate with people from old country, speak the old language, etc. This was enforced
by government, with both micro and macro influences. You learned English, lived like an
American, with implications that the American way is better. The implication was the
longer you lived in US or Canada, the more culture would rub off on you.
- 1960s, when post-colonialism occurs, civil rights movements, and etc. that reshaped
identity politics and reshaped what it means to have ethnic and racial pride. It was at this
point where assimilation was seen as negative, ethnocentric, patronizing, etc.
Assimilation literature was predictive, written like it would happen whether you want it to
not as part of a linear process. Each generation would become less like the home country
and more like the host country.
- This old version was undone. Now there is a debate about this theory. Where pr