Source of Strength? Source of Conflict?

By J. Milton Yinger

Series: SUNY series in Ethnicity and Race in American Life
Paperback : 9780791417980, 494 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791417973, 494 pages, July 1994

Table of contents


1. Drawing the Boundaries of Ethnicity

2. Assimilation and Dissimilation

3. The Elements of Assimilation and Dissimilation: Acculturation and Integration

4. The Elements of Assimilation and Dissimilation: Identification and Amalgamation

5. Ethnicity, Stratification, and Discrimination: A Field Theoretical Approach

6. Liberty-Equality-Fraternity—And Ethnicity

7. Religion and Ethnicity

8. Language and Ethnicity

9. Ethnicity: Source of Strength? Source of Conflict?



Name Index

Subject Index


Almost without exception, the societies of the world are multiethnic. The decline of empires, the appearance of new states, the expansion of communication networks, demographic trends, the weakening of the legitimacy of state authority have brought ethnic relations into the spotlight.

The purpose of this book is to develop analytic tools, concepts, perspectives that can be used in a wide variety of circumstances, contributing not only to our understanding, but also to humane policies. The author develops clear and reasonable usages for the central terms: ethnic group, nation, race, pluralism, assimilation, and dissimilation, among others. He documents the range of experiences covered in discussions of ethnicity. Ethnic differences are involved in some of the world's most intractable conflicts. They are also experienced as the source of the most satisfying and the most essential aspects of life.

J. Milton Yinger is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology at Oberlin College


"Yinger is one of the world's leading authorities on this subject; and this book provides a valuable distillation of his work and thought on this critical topic. I like most, as I have for years in Yinger's writing, his original thinking on both the macro- and micro-topics of the subject. This book is not a mere rehash of what is known in the field. It offers fresh, even sometimes contrasting, viewpoints to the accepted wisdom in the field. "—T. F. Pettigrew, University of California, Santa Cruz