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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American Democracy and the Dilemmas of Dual Citizenship
American National Identity The Framework
2 The Search for the Missing Link
A Theory of American National Identity
Domestic Challenges to American National Identity
4 Multiculturalism and National Identity
Hyphenation and National Identity
Global Challenges to American National Identity
Why Not a Transnational American Identity?
The Development of National Identity
8 Do Multiple National Attachments Equal Conflicted National Loyalties
Reforming Dual Citizenship Some Proposals
Becoming American Some Proposals

Transnationalism and National Identity

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About the author (2005)

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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