This chapter reviews behavioral biological analyses of ethnic solidarity and conflict. The universality of ethnic behavior, including frequent altruism, points to evolutionary origins. This chapter reviews the history of research into ethnicity by ethologists, sociobiologists, and evolutionary psychologists. The biosocial approach is unique in tracing causality back to adaptations, including brain functions and the evolutionary processes that selected them. One such selection process is cultural group strategies in which rules and beliefs adopted by a group help it replace others. The most influential biosocial theory states that ethnic solidarity is nepotism extended to the population. Ethnic nepotism theory and other insights have been fruitful in suggesting research directions. These include ethnic group dominance, superorganism theory applied to ethnic middleman groups, the idea that ethnic trust boosts economic competitiveness by reducing transaction costs, and the finding that ethnocultural diversity increases social conflict. Other research concerns national character.
G. Cristina Mora
Racial minority markets today are now multi-million-dollar ventures, but little is known about how these markets develop. This chapter uses the case of Latino media to show how market demands interact with racial narratives to channel the development of ethnoracial market segments. In a nutshell, the case shows that ethnic entrepreneurs exploit stereotypes about racial and consumer differences to build their minority market, but these racialized understandings can also prohibit market growth in the long run. The author contends that the study of racial and ethnic markets presents an important opportunity for economic sociologists to better understand how inequality and institutionalized meaning systems structure consumer markets over time.
Studies on the development of fat stigma in the United States often consider gender, but not race. This chapter adds to the literature on the significance of race in the propagation of fat phobia. I investigate representations of voluptuousness among “white” Anglo-Saxon and German women, as well as “black” Irish women between 1830 and 1890—a time period during which the value of a curvy physique was hotly contested—performing a discourse analysis of thirty-three articles from top newspapers and magazines. I found that the rounded forms of Anglo-Saxon and German women were generally praised as signs of health and beauty. The fat Irish, by contrast, were depicted as grotesque. Building on the work of Stuart Hall, I conclude that fat was a “floating signifier” of race and national belonging. That is, rather than being universally lauded or condemned, the value attached to fatness was related to the race of its possessor.
Xavier Casademont Falguera, Òscar Prieto-Flores, and Jordi Feu Gelis
This chapter describes how the migration crisis is constructed in Barcelona taking into consideration the role of political, media, and social movements. The chapter compares the response to the refugee population and to the Romani immigrant population. It argues that not all constructions of refugees as crises align with negative stereotypes and rejection. In the Barcelona case, the political, social, and media actors fostered an explicit action in favor of receiving refugees and put pressure on the central government and European institutions in the EU to attend to their requests. Nevertheless, for the Romani immigrant population, actors emphasized expulsion and rejection.
Chapter abstract The connection between poverty and culture has long been a contentious one in the sociological literature. While distancing itself from the culture of poverty theory of the past, recent scholarship seeks to provide a deeper analysis of the relationship between structure and culture and how this relates to poverty. This chapter argues that the work of Pierre Bourdieu—and the significant body of literature that has built upon his key theories and concepts—offers many of the tools necessary to better understand the connections between poverty, race, and culture that plague the US social landscape and appear as growing problems throughout Europe as well. The chapter concludes by suggesting areas for further theoretical development and discussing a few empirical problems that may be illuminated through extensions of Bourdieu’s concepts.
Douglas S. Massey
This article examines how segregation contributes to the perpetuation of disadvantage over time and across generations. It first traces the historical origins of segregation and reviews early substantive and theoretical work done on the subject at the University of Chicago. It then considers the most commonly used measure of segregation as well as the social mechanisms by which residential segregation is produced, with particular emphasis on the paradigmatic case of African Americans in the twentieth century. It also discusses newer mechanisms that have been advanced to promote racial-ethnic segregation in the twenty-first century and how it fosters socioeconomic inequality through the spatial concentration of poverty. Finally, it describes current levels and trends with respect to both racial and class segregation in cities around the world.
Between 2015 and 2017, Canada welcomed 49, 810 Syrian refugees, thus meeting the electoral promise made by Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau in the wake of the emotional shock provoked by the photo of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi. Media the world over presented the Canadian initiative as an example that should guide and inspire other countries. This chapter examines Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement plan to determine whether or not it can serve as an effective blueprint to improve global refugee crises. It combined a rigorous screening process, private sponsoring to build support and defray state costs, and citizen participation on immigration processes.
William Julius Wilson
This article examines the political, economic, and cultural factors that contributed to the emergence and persistence of concentrated poverty in black inner cities. It begins with a discussion of the political forces that adversely affected black inner-city neighborhoods, followed by an analysis of impersonal economic forces that accelerated neighborhood decline in the black inner city and increased disparities in race and income between cities and suburbs. It then considers two types of cultural forces that contribute to racial inequality: belief systems of the broader society that either explicitly or implicitly give rise to racial inequality; and cultural traits that emerge from patterns of intragroup interaction in settings created by racial segregation and discrimination. It also assesses the impact of the recent rise of immigration on areas of concentrated urban poverty before concluding with suggestions for a new agenda for America’s inner city poor.