Persistence and Change in the Protestant Establishment

Persistence and Change in the Protestant Establishment

Persistence and Change in the Protestant Establishment

Persistence and Change in the Protestant Establishment

Synopsis

This important new volume analyzes relations among America's minority groups, specifically the prospects of political coalitions among those usually unrelated groups: African Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Jews, Arab-Americans, and Native Americans. At the end of the 20th century, the United States is faced with a situation where minority groups are no longer assimilating but rather are moving toward separate mini-societies, complete with separate languages, cultures, and economies. Even if society accepts the notion that cultural pluralism is consistent with democratic principles, the possibility of political "hyperpluralism" (endless and nonproductive conflicts among groups) is disturbing. This volume, therefore, attempts to address these concerns, examining the background of minority organizations, voting behavior issues, and coalitional possibilities. This volume will be of interest to scholars and students alike in American government and ethnic and minority politics.

Excerpt

Many Americans embrace the ideology of democratic liberalism and its emphasis upon universalism, egalitarianism, and widespread social mobility. Proponents of democratic ideals insist that we are inevitably moving toward a society providing equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, and other factors. According to this view, whatever advantages that particular status grouping enjoyed earlier in the race for rewards have all but disappeared in the post-industrial age. As proof of this trend, analysts note that in the last several decades an older Establishment of elites has given way to a new assemblage of leaders more representative of the diversity in the general population (Bell 1962; Baltzell 1976, 1991; Silk and Silk 1980; Reed 1988; Christopher 1989; Keller 1991; O'Shaughnessy 1994).

Scholars and popular writers have been quick to proclaim the onset of a new order, with many acknowledging that the post--World War ii era represents a time when an older leadership structure evolved toward a more heterogeneous cluster of elites (Holland 1991; Lemann 1992, 1994). the older cadre of leaders who directed economic, political, and cultural affairs were often the progeny of prestigious clans that had made their mark in the burgeoning industrial epoch (Baltzell 1958), but today many observers claim that a new generation of leaders bears little resemblance to the group of Ivy- schooled Protestant patricians who led the nation through the Depression and two world wars (Baltzell 1991; Lemann 1992; O'Shaughnessy 1994).

The accepted wisdom is that post-war technology and the rise of a meritocratic elite have transformed the older Establishment by opening new avenues to power and influence (Bell 1972; Reed 1988; Keller 1991; Lemann 1992; Halberstam 1994). the new leadership is increasingly recruited on the basis of performance and is less likely to share the school and club ties of their . . .

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