The Ethnic Myth / Edition 1

The Ethnic Myth / Edition 1

3.0 2
by Stephen Steinberg
     
 

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ISBN-10: 080704153X

ISBN-13: 9780807041536

Pub. Date: 01/28/2001

Publisher: Beacon Press

You hold in your hand a dangerous book. Because it rejects as it clarifies most of the current wisdom on race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States, The Ethnic Myth has the force of a scholarly bomb. —from the Introduction by Eric William Lott

In this classic work, sociologist Stephen Steinberg rejects the prevailing view that cultural values and

Overview

You hold in your hand a dangerous book. Because it rejects as it clarifies most of the current wisdom on race, ethnicity, and immigration in the United States, The Ethnic Myth has the force of a scholarly bomb. —from the Introduction by Eric William Lott

In this classic work, sociologist Stephen Steinberg rejects the prevailing view that cultural values and ethnic traits are the primary determinants of the economic destiny of racial and ethnic groups in America. He argues that locality, class conflict, selective migration, and other historical and economic factors play a far larger role not only in producing inequalities but in maintaining them as well, thus providing an insightful explanation into why some groups are successful in their pursuit of the American dream and others are not.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807041536
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Edition description:
3RD
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
456,456
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.96(d)

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The Ethnic Myth 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
danielhjackson More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the essential primers on the mechanics of American sociological reality. Steinberg tackles three critical issues in the development of American social structure: the demand for labor, the importance of economic behavior, and the differential success of ethnic group mobility. Since the earliest of colonial times, the availability of labor at the low end of the economic ladder has been high. Unlike Europe, North America has been characterized by vast tracks of land but a dearth of people to work it. There were technological economic issues that inhibited the effective exploitation of land. Yet, labor remained the critical issue as to who and how production would be accomplished. Thus, the critical importance of importing people to perform the basic functions of production--both agricultural and industrial. Immigration, including slavery, occurred in waves--critical periods in which individuals from different regions of the "old" world arrived on North American soil. The new immigrants entered the labor force at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder filling the demand for labor of the day. The supply of new labor, however, was not homogeneous. The critical difference between these new immigrants was the experience with urban life, most notably their familiarity with the basics of buying and selling. In other words, the human and social capital of individuals arriving on the American scene became the determinant of how they, and those with similar backgrounds faired in the economic scene. Additionally, the intention of the immigrant with respect to staying permanently in America, as opposed to returning to the Old Country continues to add a controlling factor to transition to the American scene. Hence, Steinberg tackles the critical debate in sociology of cultural traits versus economic opportunity. Analyzing the apparent social success of Italian versus Jewish Americans, Steinberg demonstrates the spuriousness of the cultural explanation--the overwhelming majority of early Italians came from rural backgrounds, sought employment in manual labor, with the expressed intent to return home with their savings to purchase land and prestige. Jewish immigrants came from European cities where they had worked in skilled positions and had no intention of going anywhere else, with the possible exception of what is now Israel. Finally, Steinberg tackles the difficult question of the apparent difference of Black Americans in this story of American social mobility. Steinberg argues here that the critical issue is not when or how individuals arrived on American "soil", but when they came to American urban centers. Here the book presents its most careful, and critical, analyses of sociological dynamics of American mobility and the perniciousness of ethnic myths. Steinberg's arguments remain the critical voice. The book remains paradigmatic of American Sociology. It is both lucid and well researched directed to general and academic reader alike. Steinberg presents a thorough treatment of the literature as well as a clear presentation of his approach. He is a careful scholar as well as a witty and engaging story teller. His discussion of the importance of crime as an indicator of social mobility is wonderful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Waste of paper...write about something else except dispelling myths