Assimilation, in the 21st century?

Donald Z. Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Sun Dec 19 13:15:30 UTC 2004

I would like to invite anyone interested to participate in a consideration of
the concept of assimilation on the Assimilation list - see .

Assimilation, of course, is a process by which individuals of a more or less
distinct group are subsumed into the identity of a larger society. As such it
has long been a goal of many plural states, and also of many immigrant groups
settling in different countries. Often its meaning seems to be assumed without
much clarity as to what the implications are. Sometimes the implications are
too clear, with minorities obliged one way or another to conform.

The "Assimilation" group seeks to explore
* what "assimilation" means in an era of globalization, integration (i.e.,
transnational, like the European Union, etc.), and migration, and
* what other similar terms like "acculturation" mean in this context.

These questions bring up other issues, such as the future of the nation-state,
and forms of multiculturalism and national identities. And other related
questions too, such as: Is it possible to speak of assimilation to an emerging
"global culture," and if so what would that mean for cultural traditions and
discussion of assimilation within countries?

Does it make any sense to talk of assimilation in the 21st century? If so, how
and in what ways? If not, is there another term/concept that is more
appropriate and productive for changing realities that peoples and nations are
living today?

Don Osborn

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