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Social Theories on Social Change, Ethnic & Racial Assimilation

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Presentation on theme: "Social Theories on Social Change, Ethnic & Racial Assimilation"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Theories on Social Change, Ethnic & Racial Assimilation
SOC 3300 “Inequality” Dr. Mary Cay Sengstock, Ph.D., C.C.S.

2 Inevitability of Social/Cultural Change
Cultural Diffusion: “100% American” (Ralph Linton) Wakes on a Mid-Eastern Style Bed Modified in N. Europe Puts On Clothes of Silk from China Woven in Style Devised in Middle East Looks Out a Window, Invented in Egypt Eats an Egg from Bird Domesticated in Indo-China & a Waffle, Cooked in a Scandinavian Iron … Made From Wheat Domesticated in Asia Minor Smokes (Amer. Indian Habit) Tobacco Invented in Brazil In Form of a Cigarette Invented in Mexico Thanks a Hebrew God, in Indo-European Language … That He Is 100% American!

3 Theories of Cultural Change
Some Basic Concepts & Theories: Symbolic Interaction: All Human Interaction Is Mediated By Symbols: Language, Other Cultural Symbols (Gestures, Facial Expressions, etc.) Cannot Communicate Without Understanding Others’ Words, Views, Perspectives EX: Different Racial & Ethnic Groups

4 Impact of Social/Cultural Expectations
“W.I. Thomas Theorem”: If Things Are Believed to Be True, They Are True in Their Consequences.” We Accept the Assumptions of Our Society … Then Act As Though This Is Reality EX: If People Believe Blacks Inferior … Then Give Them Less Opportunity … The Expectation Will Come True.

5 Social Change – Its Rapidity
Changes in Society Take Place Very Slowly Do NOT Expect Change to Occur Quickly Why? There Are Many Aspects of Society Pressing for Continuation of the Status Quo: Parents, Other Family Schools, Religion, Government EX: Attempt to Change Image of Girls, Women in Grade School Textbooks

6 Social Change Pyramid How Long Will It Take? Who Is Most
Control Leaders 50+ Aspiring Leaders Maintain Control 25-49 Most Likely Changers Children, Youth <25 Who Is Most Likely to Change? What Is the Chance Of Change Occurring? Who Is Likely to Resist Change? Why?

7 Cultural Contact & Culture Shock
Cultural Contact – May Occur: When One Goes to a Different Society (Immigrant) Between Sub-groups in a Single Society What Happens When Inter-Cultural Contact Occurs? Cultural Shock As a Consequence of Cultural Contact

8 The “Stranger,” Social Change, & Social Distance
“Strangers” – A Frequent Source of Change All Societies: A “Special Place” for Strangers Tiwi – North Australia: Kill Them Middle East: Strangers Owed Hospitality Lowered Swords As Tribes Enter Foreign Territories Similarity Attracts – Difference Repels Social Distance: Distrust of Those Different Diverse Societies Social Distance Problems

9 Impact of Cultural Contact & Culture Shock
Who Wins? Outside Group May Dominate (English Colonists) Equal Contact  Assimilate (French in N. Amer.) Receiving Group Dominates (Immigrants Today) Culture Shock Not Easy to Adapt to a New Culture Many Immigrants Are Always “Between Cultures”

10 Bogardus Social Distance Scale Higher Score = Less Acceptable (1926)
Long Standing Measure of Perceived Distance Accept Marriage into Family (1 pt) Accept as Personal Friend (2 pts) Accept as Neighbor (3 pts) Accept Worker in Office (4 pts) Only as Speaking Acquaintance (5 pts) Accept Only As Visitor to Country (6 pts) Bar from Entering Country (7 pts)

11 Scores Over Time Social Distance Spread Shrinks:
Negroes (1977) vs. Africans: 1.43 Mean (1997): vs. Mean (2001): 1.44 2001: Muslims (1.88), Arabs (1.94) Least Acceptable vs. “American” (1.25) Remarkably: Their Scores Are NOT as Negative As That of Previous “Unacceptables” (1977): Russians: – Koreans: 2.63

12 Georg Simmel: the Stranger
An “Outsider”: Different; Unknown Represent Both Nearness & Remoteness Physically Close –Seen as Unknown/Different Strangers Are Both Inside & Outside: Lack Knowledge of Social “Nuances” More Likely to Be “Objective” Tendency to Use Stereotypes with Strangers Need to Teach People to Get Along with Strangers Parrillo: Train Germans to Interact with Americans

13 Alfred Schutz: “Intersubjective Understanding
“Natives”: Shared Understanding of World: Language, Slang, Customs, Beliefs, Symbols, Daily Behavior Patterns – “Social Context” Deep Understanding of Hidden Meanings Strangers Lack “Historicity,” “Shared Memory” Chinese Student: Wanted to Conduct a Subjective Study of American Students – Possible? Dr. Arifa Javed: Cross-Cultural Training Program: Parents – Students – Teachers

14 Process of Acculturation
Over Time, Strangers Come to Know “the Culture” – the Nuances of Social Interaction Deep Understanding/Speaking the Language They Now Understand How Others Feel, What They Say – Hidden Meanings Behind Words Natives Begin to Understand the Complexity of the “Strangers’ Culture” – Less Likely to Depend Upon Stereotypes

15 Major Sociological Perspectives: Functionalism (Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton)
Stable, Cooperating System; Everyone Agrees Everything Has an Accepted Function System Is Ordered, Stable, in Equilibrium Temporary Maladjustments “Dysfunctions” Gradual Adjustments  New Equilibrium

16 Major Sociological Perspectives: Conflict Theory
Disagreements, Tensions Inherent In Society Conflict Is Inevitable As New Elites Arise Inequalities Are Inevitable  Disequilibrium, Change Are the Norm Exploitation  Discrimination Power Structure Has False Consciousness Only Group Cohesiveness & Struggle Produces Social Change

17 Major Sociological Perspectives: Interactionist Theory
Focus: Microsocial World Interaction Patterns Shared Symbols, Definitions, Interpretations Social Construction of Reality Internalized Meanings Are Presumed Intergroup Relations Perceived in that Context Improved Communication Needed to Improve Relations Between Majority & Minority

18 Minority Groups Does Not Designate Numerical Representation
Relates to Relative Power & Status in Society Louis Wirth – Noted 2 Dimensions: Not Solely Physical; Many Physical, Cultural Traits, Disabilities, Aging, etc. Social Consciousness; Focus on Prejudice, Discrimination Richard Schermerhorn Does Not Agree: Not All Minority Groups Involve Victimization Leads to Studies of Social Power Relationships

19 Minority Group Definition
Group Receives Unequal Treatment Easily Identifiable (Physical &/or Cultural) Held in Low Esteem Group Feels Sense of Sharing, Peoplehood Membership Is ASCRIBED Status; Born Into It Endogamy Is Practiced

20 Theories of Minority Integration: Assimilation
Assumes That Outside Groups Become Integral Part of Dominant Society – 3 Ways: Anglo-Conformity Melting Pot Pluralism

21 Assimilation: Definition (Milton Gordon)
Process In Which 2 Groups Become One Group EX: 2 Immigrant Groups Which Live Near Each Other … Interact With Each Other … Eventually They Become 1 Group Ethnic EX: Development of “WASP” (Anderson) How the Jews Became “White” (Brodkin #4)

22 Assimilation: Stages (Milton Gordon)
Cultural Assimilation (Acculturation) Marital Assimilation (Amalgamation) Structural Assimilation (Primary & Secondary) Identificational Assimilation (One Identity) Attitude-Receptional (Absence of Prejudice) Behavioral-Receptional (Absence of Discrimination) Civic Assimilation (Absence of Political Conflicts)

23 Gordon’s Hypotheses Cultural Assimilation is Necessary for the Rest
Structural Assimilation Will Lead to the Rest Marital Assimilation  Process Complete None Proven – Questioned By Many Theorists Shows the Complexity of Assimilation Question Re Who Assimilates to Whom Question Re Degree to Which It Really Occurs

24 Anglo-Conformity Based on Assimilation
Assumes That All Incoming Groups Become Like the Original Group (i.e, “Anglos) Advocated By Anglos Question If It Ever Really Occurs Reality: Newcomers Really Change Most Newcomers Do Introduce Some New Ideas Some Ideas (EX: Civil Rights Movement) Even If It’s Just Their Foods; Some Words (Yiddish)

25 “Melting Pot” Assumes ALL Groups Meld Into A New Group
Different from ALL of the Individual Groups “New Breed” (J. Hector St. John de Creveceour, 1782) “The Melting Pot” (Israel Zangwill, Play, 1908)

26 Q: Did We Melt? Gordon: Only In Religion “Triple Melting Pot”
Protestant Catholic Jewish (Ruby Jo Reeves Kennedy, New Haven, CN) Did This Even Occur There? Andrew Greeley

27 Melting Pot Today Who Would We Have to Include Today?
Muslims? Hindus? Sikhs? Others? The Dominant Society Does NOT – Has NO INTENTION OF Accommodating/Assimilating! Most “Melting” Was Anglo-Conformist Will Herberg; Henry Pratt Fairchild; Andrew Greeley; others

28 Accommodation Theory: Pluralism
“Democracy vs. Melting Pot” Horace Kallen (1915) Rejects Assimilation & Amalgamation Groups Retain Language, Customs , Institutions Learn English, Participate in Institutions Occupations, Education, Politics U.S: “Cooperation of Cultural Diversities”

29 Pluralism a Cultural Reality
Cultural Pluralism: Some Culturally Distinct Groups Exist (Amish) Structural Pluralism Many Groups Form Separate Social Groups Dual Realities: Both Types Always Existed Groups Maintain Social/(Cultural) Separateness Assimilation Required By Whites Reality: “Whites” Are Not “Just American”! Strata; Self Control; Suppress Attitudes (Parrillo)

30 Reactions to Pluralism
Comparison to Other Societies Canada: State Sponsored Multi-Culturalism Australia: “White Australia”  2-Way Acculturation  U.S. Style Diversity Trinidad & Tobago: “Tossed Salad” East Indians Always “Outsiders” to Africans France: Mono-Cultural – Everyone Is Native-Born! U.S.: Mixture of Above Generally Non-Interference Unless Problems Bothers Many White Anglo-Saxon Protestants! Richard Thompson: Unity, Not Diversity! (Hate Speech)

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