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Is the United States a nation divided by the “color line,” as W.E.B. Dubois declared? What is the impact of race on the lives of Americans today? In this powerful new assessment of the social reality of race, Reynolds Farley and Walter Allen compare demographic, social, and economic characteristics of blacks and whites to discover how and to what extent racial identity influences opportunities and outcomes in our society. They conclude that despite areas of considerable gain, black Americans continue to be substantially disadvantaged relative to whites.
A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Race, Immigration, and Wealth Stratification in America
The growing number of immigrants living and working in America has become a controversial topic from classrooms to corporations and from kitchen tables to Capitol Hill. Many native-born Americans fear that competition from new arrivals will undermine the economic standing of low-skilled American workers, and that immigrants may not successfully integrate into the U.S. economy. In Color Lines, Country Lines, sociologist Lingxin Hao argues that the current influx of immigrants is changing America’s class structure, but not in the ways commonly believed. Drawing on 20 years of national survey data, Color Lines, Country Lines investigates how immigrants are faring as they try to accumulate enough wealth to join the American middle class, and how, in the process, they are transforming historic links between race and socioeconomic status. Hao finds that disparities in wealth among immigrants are large and growing, including disparities among immigrants of the same race or ethnicity. Cuban immigrants have made substantially more progress than arrivals from the Dominican Republic, Chinese immigrants have had more success than Vietnamese or Korean immigrants, and Jamaicans have fared better than Haitians and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, many of these immigrant groups have acquired more wealth than native-born Americans of the same race or ethnicity. Hao traces these diverging paths to differences in the political and educational systems of the immigrants’ home countries, as well as to preferential treatment of some groups by U.S. immigration authorities and the U.S. labor market. As a result, individuals’ country of origin increasingly matters more than their race in determining their prospects for acquiring wealth. In a novel analysis, Hao predicts that as large numbers of immigrants arrive in the U.S. every year, the variation in wealth within racial groups will continue to grow, reducing wealth inequalities between racial groups. If upward mobility remains restricted to only some groups, then the old divisions of wealth by race will gradually become secondary to new disparities based on country of origin. However, if the labor market and the government are receptive to all immigrant groups, then the assimilation of immigrants into the middle class will help diminish wealth inequality in society as a whole. Immigrants’ assimilation into the American mainstream and the impact of immigration on the American economy are inextricably linked, and each issue can only be understood in light of the other. Color Lines, Country Lines shows why some immigrant groups are struggling to get by while others have managed to achieve the American dream and reveals the surprising ways in which immigration is reshaping American society.
Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist
Given the increasing diversity of the nation—particularly with respect to its growing Hispanic and Asian populations—why does racial and ethnic difference so often lead to disadvantage? In The Colors of Poverty, a multidisciplinary group of experts provides a breakthrough analysis of the complex mechanisms that connect poverty and race.The Colors of Poverty reframes the debate over the causes of minority poverty by emphasizing the cumulative effects of disadvantage in perpetuating poverty across generations. The contributors consider a kaleidoscope of factors that contribute to widening racial gaps, including education, racial discrimination, social capital, immigration, and incarceration. Michèle Lamont and Mario Small grapple with the theoretical ambiguities of existing cultural explanations for poverty disparities. They argue that culture and structure are not competing explanations for poverty, but rather collaborate to produce disparities. Looking at how attitudes and beliefs exacerbate racial stratification, social psychologist Heather Bullock links the rise of inequality in the United States to an increase in public tolerance for disparity. She suggests that the American ethos of rugged individualism and meritocracy erodes support for antipoverty programs and reinforces the belief that people are responsible for their own poverty. Sociologists Darren Wheelock and Christopher Uggen focus on the collateral consequences of incarceration in exacerbating racial disparities and are the first to propose a link between legislation that blocks former drug felons from obtaining federal aid for higher education and the black/white educational attainment gap. Joe Soss and Sanford Schram argue that the increasingly decentralized and discretionary nature of state welfare programs allows for different treatment of racial groups, even when such policies are touted as “race-neutral.” They find that states with more blacks and Hispanics on welfare rolls are consistently more likely to impose lifetime limits, caps on benefits for mothers with children, and stricter sanctions. The Colors of Poverty is a comprehensive and evocative introduction to the dynamics of race and inequality. The research in this landmark volume moves scholarship on inequality beyond a simple black-white paradigm, beyond the search for a single cause of poverty, and beyond the promise of one “magic bullet” solution.
American Schools and the Civic Development of Immigrant Youth
As one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population, the children of immigrants are poised to reshape the country’s political future. The massive rallies for immigration rights in 2006 and the recent push for the DREAM Act, both heavily supported by immigrant youth, signal the growing political potential of this crucial group. While many studies have explored the political participation of immigrant adults, we know comparatively little about what influences civic participation among the children of immigrants. Coming of Political Age persuasively argues that schools play a central role in integrating immigrant youth into the political system. The volume shows that the choices we make now in our educational system will have major consequences for the country’s civic health as the children of immigrants grow and mature as citizens. Coming of Political Age draws from an impressive range of data, including two large surveys of adolescents in high schools and interviews with teachers and students, to provide an insightful analysis of trends in youth participation in politics. Although the children of both immigrant and native-born parents register and vote at similar rates, the factors associated with this likelihood are very different. While parental educational levels largely explain voting behavior among children of native-born parents, this volume demonstrates that immigrant children’s own education, in particular their exposure to social studies, strongly predicts their future political participation. Learning more about civic society and putting effort into these classes may encourage an interest in politics, suggesting that the high school civics curriculum remains highly relevant in an increasingly disconnected society. Interestingly, although their schooling predicts whether children of immigrants will vote, how they identify politically depends more on family and community influences. As budget cuts force school administrators to realign academic priorities, this volume argues that any cutback to social science programs may effectively curtail the political and civic engagement of the next generation of voters. While much of the literature on immigrant assimilation focuses on family and community, Coming of Political Age argues that schools—and social science courses in particular—may be central to preparing the leaders of tomorrow. The insights and conclusions presented in this volume are essential to understand how we can encourage more participation in civic action and improve the functioning of our political system.
Risk, Responsibility, and Corporate Professionalism
To limit the skyrocketing costs of their employees' health insurance, companies such as Dow, Chevron, and IBM, as well as many large HMOs, have increasingly hired physicians to supervise the medical care they provide. As Elaine Draper argues in The Company Doctor, company doctors are bound by two conflicting ideals: serving the medical needs of their patients while protecting the company's bottom line. Draper analyzes the advent of the corporate physician both as an independent phenomenon, and as an index of contemporary culture, reaching startling conclusions about the intersection of corporate culture with professional autonomy.
Drawing on over 100 interviews with company physicians, scientists, and government and labor officials, as well as historical, legal, and statistical sources and medical trade association data, Draper presents an illuminating overview of the social context and meaning of professional work in corporations. Draper finds that while medical journals, speeches, and ethical codes proclaim the independent professional judgment of corporate physicians, the company doctors she interviewed often expressed anguish over the tightrope they must walk between their patients' health and the corporate oversight they face at every turn. Draper dissects the complex position occupied by company doctors to explore broad themes of doctor-patient trust, employee loyalty, privacy issues, and the future direction of medicine. She addresses such controversial topics as drug screening and the difficult position of company doctors when employees sue companies for health hazards in the workplace.
Company doctors are but one example of professionals who have at times ceded their autonomy to corporate management. Physicians provide the prototypical professional case for exploring this phenomenon, due to their traditional independence, extensive training, and high levels of prestige. But Draper expands the scope of the book—tracing parallel developments in the law, science, and technology—to draw insightful conclusions about changing conditions in the professional workplace, as corporate cultures everywhere adapt to the new realities of the global economy. The Company Doctor provides a compelling examination of the corporatization of American medicine with far-reaching implications for professionals in many other fields.
Conversations with Nobelists about Economics and Political Science
What can the disciplines of political science and economics learn from one another? Political scientists have recently begun to adapt economic theories of exchange, trade, and competition to the study of legislatures, parties, and voting. At the same time, some of the most innovative and influential thinkers in economics have crossed the boundaries of their discipline to explore the classic questions of political science. Competition and Cooperation features six of these path-breaking scholars, all winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics, in a series of conversations with more than a dozen distinguished political scientists. The discussions analyze, adapt, and extend the Nobelists' seminal work, showing how it has carried over into political science and paved the way for fruitful cooperation between the two disciplines.
The exchanges span all of the major conceptual legacies of the Nobel laureates: Arrow's formalization of the problems of collective decisions; Buchanan's work on constitutions and his critique of majority rule; Becker's theory of competition among interest groups; North's focus on insecure property rights and transaction costs; Simon's concern with the limits to rationality; and Selten's experimental work on strategic thinking and behavior.
As befits any genuine dialogue, the traffic of ideas and experiences runs both ways. The Nobel economists have had a profound impact upon political science, but, in addressing political questions, they have also had to rethink many settled assumptions of economics. The standard image of economic man as a hyper-rational, self-interested creature, acting by and for for himself, bears only a passing resemblance to man as a political animal. Several of the Nobelists featured in this volume have turned instead to the insights of cognitive science and institutional analysis to provide a more recognizable portrait of political life.
The reconsideration of rationality and the role of institutions,in economics as in politics, raises the possibility of a shared approach to individual choice and institutional behavior that gives glimmers of a new unity in the social sciences. Competition and Cooperation demonstrates that the most important work in both economics and political science reflects a marriage of the two disciplines.
This timely book is concerned with interactions between ordinary people and large public bureaucracies—interactions that typically are characterized by mutual frustration and antagonism. In fact, as Joel Handler points out, the procedural guidelines intended to ensure fairness and due process fail to take account of an initial imbalance of power and tend to create adversarial rather than cooperative relationships.
When the special education needs of a handicapped child must be determined, parents and school administrators often face an especially painful confrontation. The Conditions of Discretion focuses on one successful approach to educational decision making (developed by the school district of Madison, Wisconsin) in order to illustrate how such interactions can be restructured and enhanced. Madison’s creative plan regards parents as part of the solution, not the problem, and uses “lay advocates” to turn conflict into an opportunity for communication. Arrangements such as these, in Handler’s analysis, exemplify the theoretical conditions under which discretionary decisions can be made fairly and with the informed participation of all concerned.
The Conditions of Discretion offers not only a detailed case study, sympathetically described, but also persuasive assessments of major themes in contemporary legal and social policy—informed consent, bureaucratic change, social movement activity, the relationship of the individual to the state. From these strands, Handler weaves a significant new theory of cooperative decision making that integrates the public and the private, recognizes the importance of values, and preserves autonomy within community.
"A masterful blend of social criticism, social sciences, and humane, constructive thought about the future of the welfare state." —Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School
The 9/11 terrorist attacks opened America’s eyes to a frightening world of enemies surrounding us. But have our eyes opened wide enough to see how our experiences compare with other nations’ efforts to confront and prevent terrorism? Other democracies have long histories of confronting both international and domestic terrorism. Some have undertaken progressively more stringent counterterrorist measures in the name of national security and the safety of citizens. The Consequences of Counterterrorism examines the political costs and challenges democratic governments face in confronting terrorism.Using historical and comparative perspectives, The Consequences of Counterterrorism presents thematic analyses as well as case studies of Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, and Israel. Contributor John Finn compares post-9/11 antiterrorism legislation in the United States, Europe, Canada, and India to demonstrate the effects of hastily drawn policies on civil liberties and constitutional norms. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Jean-Luc Marret assert that terrorist designation lists are more widespread internationally than ever before. The authors examine why governments and international organizations use such lists, how they work, and why they are ineffective tools. Gallya Lahav shows how immigration policy has become inextricably linked to security in the EU and compares the European fear of internal threats to the American fear of external ones. A chapter by Dirk Haubrich explains variation in the British government’s willingness to compromise democratic principles according to different threats. In his look at Spain and Northern Ireland, Rogelio Alonso asserts that restricting the rights of those who perpetrate ethnonationalist violence may be acceptable in order to protect the rights of citizens who are victims of such violence. Jeremy Shapiro considers how the French response to terrorist threats has become more coercive during the last fifty years. Israel’s “war model” of counterterrorism has failed, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger argue, and is largely the result of the military elite’s influence on state institutions. Giovanni Cappocia explains how Germany has protected basic norms and institutions. In contrast, David Leheny stresses the significance of change in Japan’s policies. Preventing and countering terrorism is now a key policy priority for many liberal democratic states. As The Consequences of Counterterrorism makes clear, counterterrorist policies have the potential to undermine the democratic principles, institutions, and processes they seek to preserve.
One in five American children now live in families with incomes below the povertyline, and their prospects are not bright. Low income is statistically linked with a variety of poor outcomes for children, from low birth weight and poor nutrition in infancy to increased chances of academic failure, emotional distress, and unwed childbirth in adolescence. To address these problems it is not enough to know that money makes a difference; we need to understand how. Consequences of Growing Up Poor is an extensive and illuminating examination of the paths through which economic deprivation damages children at all stages of their development.
In Consequences of Growing Up Poor, developmental psychologists, economists, and sociologists revisit a large body of studies to answer specific questions about how low income puts children at risk intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Many of their investigations demonstrate that although income clearly creates disadvantages, it does so selectively and in a wide variety of ways. Low-income preschoolers exhibit poorer cognitive and verbal skills because they are generally exposed to fewer toys, books, and other stimulating experiences in the home. Poor parents also tend to rely on home-based child care, where the quality and amount of attention children receive is inferior to that of professional facilities. In later years, conflict between economically stressed parents increases anxiety and weakens self-esteem in their teenaged children.
Although they share economic hardships, the home lives of poor children are not homogenous. Consequences of Growing Up Poor investigates whether such family conditions as the marital status, education, and involvement of parents mitigate the ill effects of poverty. Consequences of Growing Up Poor also looks at the importance of timing: Does being poor have a different impact on preschoolers, children, and adolescents? When are children most vulnerable to poverty? Some contributors find that poverty in the prenatal or early childhood years appears to be particularly detrimental to cognitive development and physical health. Others offer evidence that lower income has a stronger negative effect during adolescence than in childhood or adulthood.
Based on their findings, the editors and contributors to Consequences of Growing Up Poor recommend more sharply focused child welfare policies targeted to specific eras and conditions of poor children's lives. They also weigh the relative need for income supplements, child care subsidies, and home interventions. Consequences of Growing Up Poor describes the extent and causes of hardships for poor children, defines the interaction between income and family, and offers solutions to improve young lives.
JEANNE BROOKS-GUNN is Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also director of the Center for Young Children and Families, and co-directs the Adolescent Study Program at Teachers College.