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Sociology (43)
CAS SO 207 (15)

Notes on Pages 42-55.docx

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CAS SO 207
Ruha Benjamin

PAGES 42-55 Question: how to individuals that are part of a radically different culture adjust to theAmerican culture upon immigration? This chapter looks at ways in which ethnic and racial groups in US relate to each other. Two concepts: assimilation and pluralism. • Assimilation—process in which formerly distinct and separate groups come to share a common culture and merge together socially. Differences among groups decrease • Pluralism—exists when groups maintain their individual identities. Groups remain separate and their cultural and social differences persist over time. • They can occur together. Assimilation • Can follow a number of different pathways: o Melting pot (amalgamation): a process in which different groups come together and contribute in roughly equal amounts to create a common culture and a new, unique society. This emphasizes sharing and inclusion.  Not accurate at all forAmerica o Americanization or Anglo-conformity: any minority groups entering must conform to the English language and British-type institutional patterns that the Anglo-Saxon protestants brought. They lose their original heritage. • The “Traditional” Perspective on Assimilation: Theories and concepts: o Robert Park—believed that intergroup relations go through a predictable set of phases that he called race relation cycles  When group come into contact, they are competitive at first but then move towards assimilation (fusion) of groups  Assimilation is inevitable in a democratic and industrial society (unified society would emerge)  Criticism says that Park’s conclusions did not specify time period and it cannot be tested and that he does not describe the nature of the assimilation process in much detail o Milton Gordon—broke down the overall process of assimilation into sever sub processes  Gordon distinguishes between culture and social structure: • Culture: encompasses all aspects of the way of life associated with a group of people. It includes language, religious beliefs, customs and rules of etiquette, and the values and ideas people have • Social structure: structural components of society, which includes networks of social relationships, groups, organizations, stratification systems, communities and families. It can be split into two sectors o Primary sector: includes interpersonal relationships that are intimate and personal (groups are small) o Secondary sector: consists of groups and organizations that are more public, task oriented, and impersonal. (groups are large)  Gordon’s earliest stages of assimilation: 1. Acculturation: the group learns the culture of the dominant group, including language and values 2. Integration (structural assimilation): a. At the secondary level; members of the group enter the public institutions and organizations of the dominant society and b. At the primary level; members of the group enter the cliques, clubs, and friendship groups of the dominant society 3. Intermarriage (marital assimilation): members of the group marry with members of the dominant society on a large scale  Just because these act as prerequisites, this does not mean upon acculturation a group automatically assumes integration. In Gordon’s
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