The 50% American: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror

Overview

President Bush's attempts to liberalize immigration laws in the United States have raised serious questions about our national identity. Just what does it mean to be an American? What exactly holds us together as a people? What, if anything, can be done to strengthen the national attachments of millions of new immigrants who arrive on our shores every year--especially in an age of terrorism? Political psychologist Stanley Renshon attempts to answer these questions by looking at recent immigration trends and how ...
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Overview

President Bush's attempts to liberalize immigration laws in the United States have raised serious questions about our national identity. Just what does it mean to be an American? What exactly holds us together as a people? What, if anything, can be done to strengthen the national attachments of millions of new immigrants who arrive on our shores every year--especially in an age of terrorism? Political psychologist Stanley Renshon attempts to answer these questions by looking at recent immigration trends and how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with volatile issues such as language requirements, voting rights, and schooling. Concerned that America is not doing enough to help immigrants appreciate the history and culture of their new homeland, Renshon makes several dramatic policy proposals to help transform a) the current status of dual citizenship and b) foreign attachments to national attachments. For instance, Renshon argues that American citizens should be actively discouraged from voting in foreign elections--which many current immigrants are allowed to do--and that they should be discouraged from serving in a foreign military service. While some will interpret Renshon's project as a politically conservative manifesto against liberal cosmopolitanism--and, indeed, he is highly critical of multiculturalism at the expense of patriotism--he is hard to categorize. At two points he lauds Bill Clinton's "One America" program; he also savages the Wall Street Journal for advocating open borders, and critiques George W. Bush's immigration policies. This is bound to be controversial, and will likely find an enthusiastic audience among thinking conservatives.
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Editorial Reviews

Tamar Jacoby
Renshon has read widely and thought hard about the problem. As a psychiatrist, he also views it from an intriguing vantage point -- one that helps him go a step further than others who see the challenge in entirely "cognitive" or cerebral terms. And he's right that the nation needs to make sure all Americans, newcomer and native, feel not just theoretically but also emotionally attached with the kind of pride and loyalty that is traditionally -- no apologies necessary -- labeled "patriotism."
— The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589010673
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley A. Renshon, a certified psychoanalyst, is a professor of political science at the City University of New York and coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Psychology of Social and Political Behavior in the university's Graduate Center. His thirteen books include In His Father's Shadow: The Transformation of George W. Bush and High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition, which won the American Political Science Association's Richard E. Neustadt Award for best book on the presidency and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis' Gradiva Award for the best published biography.

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Table of Contents

Prologue Introduction

1 American Democracy and the Dilemmas of Dual Citizenship

Part I. American National Identity: The Framework

2 The Search for the Missing Link

3 A Theory of American National Identity

Part II. Domestic Challenges to American National Identity

4 Multiculturalism and National Identity

5 Hyphenation and National Identity

Part III. Global Challenges to American National Identity

6 Transnationalism and National Identity

7 Why Not a Transnational American Identity?

Part IV. The Development of National Identity

8 Do Multiple National Attachments Equal Conflicted National Loyalties?

9 Reforming Dual Citizenship: Some Proposals

10 Becoming American: Some Proposals

Epilogue

Appendix: Countries and Territories Allowing Dual Citizenship in Some Form

Index

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