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New Assimilation Theory and Its Role in Immigrant Adaptation in American Society

New Assimilation Theory and Its Contributions


Answer one question below. Your answer should be brief but to the point, and at least 250 words for graduates. And at the end of your answer, you must identify the word count 

Q1. The supplementary reading, “Assimilation Theory, Old and New,” discusses “new assimilation theory.” Based on new assimilation theory discussed in the supplementary reading, explain why assimilation is likely to remain a central social process in the adaptation of immigrants and their descendants. ?Alba, Richard and Victor Nee. 2003. “Assimilation Theory, Old and New.” Pp.17-66 in Remaking the American Mainstream. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Q2. The supplementary reading, “Assimilation Theory, Old and New,” discusses “new assimilation theory.” Based on new assimilation theory discussed in the supplementary reading, explain why assimilation will encompass divergent outcomes in American society.

Q3. The supplementary reading, “Assimilation Theory, Old and New,” discusses the mechanisms of assimilation (Pp.38-57). The authors argue that “when discriminatory barriers block an individualistic pattern of social mobility, assimilation, when it occurs, depends on collectivist strategies” (Alba and Nee 2003: 45).

Choose one example of collectivist strategies discuss in the supplementary reading and illustrate how members of an ethnic group “engage in joint action as a means to achieve collective goals” (p.42).

Q4. The supplementary reading, “Assimilation Theory, Old and New,” discusses assimilation and boundaries (i.e., boundary crossing, boundary blurring, boundary shifting) on pages 38-57. Below is an excerpt from Lichter et al. (2011) and Miyawaki (2015), which discuss intermarriage from a boundary perspective.

Explain how intermarriage can result in boundary crossing, boundary blurring, and boundary shifting,Intermarriage:

A Boundary Perspective Source: Lichter, Carmalt, and Qian (2011); Miyawaki (2015) Over the years, there has been a significant increase in intermarriage in the United States. Among newlyweds, the rate of marriage between spouses of a different race or ethnicity has more than doubled since 1980, from 6.7% to 14.6% in 2008 (Passel, Wang, and Taylor 2012).

For years, scholars have used intermarriage as an indicator of assimilation and a measure of social distance between racial and ethnic groups. Intermarriage is sometimes viewed as the final step in the assimilation process among immigrant populations (Gordon, 1964).

Intermarriage is often seen as the weakening of group boundaries and the decline in social distance between groups. In addition, increases in intermarriage across racial and ethnic lines may change the very boundaries that create and reproduce group distinctions.

Dimensions of Assimilation

According to Alba and Nee (2003), intermarriage can also result in boundary crossing, boundary blurring, and boundary shifting. Boundary crossing refers to the movement of individuals from one group to another without any substantial changes to the nature of the boundary itself. Boundary blurring, on the other hand, occurs when the profile of a boundary becomes less distinct and the clarity of social distinctions between two groups becomes clouded.

Finally, boundary shifting involves the relocation of a boundary so that groups once situated on one side are now included on the other. That is, groups that were formerly considered outsiders have transformed into insiders. In terms of intermarriage, boundary crossing can translate to cases of members of a racial minority group marrying members of the white majority, but without changing the very structure of the boundary separating the two groups due to low levels of intermarriage between them.

The process of boundary crossing can span generations, as intermarriage in one generation produces individuals in the next who socially appear indistinguishable from the majority group (Alba and Nee 2003). As intermarriage between the racial minority group and the white majority increases, boundary blurring can take place.

The increasing occurrence of interracial marriage between the groups begins to break down the rigidities of racial division, resulting in changes in the character of the group boundary and whereby social categories that distinguish the groups become less and less relevant. Intermarriage blurs the social boundaries that separate America's racial and ethnic groups.

First, marriages between partners with different national origins or racial or ethnic backgrounds necessarily imply a breakdown in social distance between groups; they evidence greater equality along many dimensions, such as education and residential location.

For example, upwardly mobile minorities—those who have joined the economic mainstream or middle class—are more likely than other minorities to marry whites. These interracial couples serve as associational brokers. They connect broader family and friendship networks that comprise different racial and ethnic groups.

Second, the mixed-race progeny of interracial couples also occupy an important demographic niche in U.S. society. By definition, these children blur the social boundaries that separate different cultural or racial groups.

Patterns and trends in intermarriage thus provide indirect evidence of changing race and ethnic relations and the pace of assimilation in U.S. society. With boundary shifting, this can occur with large-scale intermarriage between the racial minority group and the larger white population.

In the process, the minority group comes to be viewed by the white majority as social equals (i.e., “white”). Moreover, marriages between the two groups become so commonplace that its occurrence ceases to be seen as intermarriage, as they may no longer consider that a social boundary is being crossed (Alba and Nee 2003).

Q5. The supplementary reading, “Assessing Immigrant Assimilation,” examines research on the four dimensions of assimilation among immigrant groups: socioeconomic status, spatial concentration, language assimilation, and intermarriage.

Choose one dimension of assimilation and evaluate the argument that “today’s immigrants are largely assimilating into American society.” Waters, Mary C., and Tomás R. Jiménez. 2005. “Assessing Immigrant Assimilation: New Empirical and Theoretical Challenges.” Annual Review of Sociology

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