The Three Pathways to Incorporation

Jeffrey C. Alexander

in The Civil Sphere

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195162509
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943364 | DOI:
The Three Pathways to Incorporation

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In comparative analyses of the United States and France, sociologists, historians, and national intellectuals have argued that incorporation in these nations is different from that in other nations because it proceeds under civic-ideological rather than ethnic-primordial understandings of citizenship. Their revolutionary origins and self-conscious Enlightenment rationales are supposed to have initiated such radical ruptures with tradition that their postrevolutionary civil societies are legitimated not by any primordial particularities but simply by democratic ideology as such. This chapter demonstrates that this is not the case. There are, indeed, highly significant differences between France and the United States, on the one hand, and central and southern European nations on the other. Nonetheless, neither revolutionary country avoided the primordialization of its civil premises or the struggles over incorporation that issued therefrom. The three pathways to incorporation (assimilative mode, hyphenated mode, multicultural mode) cannot be parsed into such neatly compartmentalized ways. All three forms are relevant, although certainly not equally relevant, to every national experience.

Keywords: United States; France; incorporation; assimilative mode; hyphenated mode; multicultural mode

Chapter.  12348 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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