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Immigration and the Nation-StateThe United States, Germany, and Great Britain$
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Christian Joppke

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198295402

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198295405.001.0001

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‘Race’ Attacks the Melting‐Pot: The United States

‘Race’ Attacks the Melting‐Pot: The United States

(p.147) 5 ‘Race’ Attacks the Melting‐Pot: The United States
Immigration and the Nation-State

Christian Joppke

Oxford University Press

The argument between melting‐pot assimilationists and cultural pluralists betrays a fundamental uncertainty about the meaning of American nationhood, and exhibits a certain sterility by being abstracted from empirical processes and outcomes of immigrant integration. The key factor has been the resurgence of ethnicity as a counter‐integrative force, fuelled by the policy of ‘affirmative action’. This policy, implemented across various sectors of US society, has served to reinforce both minority group identity and majority group resentfulness at the special privileges it confers. Furthermore, mechanisms for the protection of civil rights have tended to evolve from white‐black race relations, and are thus ill‐suited for resolving inter‐ethnic disputes. Another obstacle to integration has been the pursuit of multiculturalism in the US education system, which equally encourages minority elites to enhance their own political profiles at the expense of the integration of US society at large.

Keywords:   affirmative action, assimilation, ethnicity, immigration, multiculturalism, race relations, USA

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