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

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Georgetown University Press, Nov 1, 2005 - Political Science - 296 pages
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The United States is the only nation in the world that allows its citizens to hold one or more foreign citizenships, vote in another nation's elections, run for or be appointed to office in another country, and join the armed forces even of a nation with interests hostile to those of the U.S. while retaining their citizenship. These policies reinforce the often already strong emotional, political, and economic ties today's immigrants retain to their home countries. Yet few studies have addressed what dual citizenship means for the United States as a nation and the integration of immigrants into the American national community. Is it possible to reconcile two different nationalities, cultures, and psychologies? How can we honor immigrants' sense of identity without threatening American national identity? What do Americans have a right to expect of immigrants and what do they have a right to expect of Americans? In The 50% American political psychologist Stanley Renshon offers unique insight into the political and national ramifications of personal loyalties. Arguing that the glue that binds this country together is a psychological force -- patriotism -- he explains why powerful emotional attachments are critical to American civic process and how they make possible united action in times of crisis. In an age of terrorism, the idea that we are all Americans regardless of our differences is more than a credo; it is essential to our national security. Comprehensive in scope, this book examines recent immigration trends, tracing the assimilation process that immigrants to the United States undergo and describing how federal, state, and local governments have dealt with volatile issues such as language requirements, voting rights, and schooling. Renshon turns a critical eye to the challenges posed over the past four decades by multiculturalism, cultural conflict, and global citizenship and puts forth a comprehensive proposal for reforming dual citizenship and helping immigrants and citizens alike become more integrated into the American national community.
  

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Contents

American Democracy and the Dilemmas of Dual Citizenship
1
American National Identity The Framework
37
2 The Search for the Missing Link
39
A Theory of American National Identity
54
Domestic Challenges to American National Identity
79
4 Multiculturalism and National Identity
81
Hyphenation and National Identity
101
Global Challenges to American National Identity
125
Why Not a Transnational American Identity?
144
The Development of National Identity
165
8 Do Multiple National Attachments Equal Conflicted National Loyalties
167
Reforming Dual Citizenship Some Proposals
192
Becoming American Some Proposals
220
EPILOGUE
251
APPENDIX
255
INDEX
261

Transnationalism and National Identity
127

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About the author (2005)

He is a professor of political science & coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Psychology of Social & Political Behavior at the City University of New York Graduate Center & a certified psychoanalyst.

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