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The Liberty of Strangers

Desmond King

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195306439
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850617 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306439.001.0001
The Liberty of Strangers

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Spanning the entire 20th century and encompassing immigration policies, the nationalistic fallout from both world wars, the civil rights movement, and nation-building efforts in the postcolonial era, this book advances a major new interpretation of American nationalism and the future prospects for diverse democracies. Tracing how Americans have confronted and relinquished, but mostly clung to group identities over the past century, the book debunks one of the guiding assumptions of American nationhood, namely that group distinction and identification would gradually dissolve over time, creating a “postethnic” nation. The divisions in American society have consistently proven themselves too strong to dissolve and, for better or for worse, the often-disparaged politics of multiculturalism are here to stay, with profound implications for America's democracy.

Keywords: immigration; nationalism; civil rights movement; nation-building; America; democracy; group identities; American nationhood

Book.  240 pages. 

Subjects: US Politics

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Table of Contents

“One People” Nationalism in The Liberty of Strangers

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How to Become an American in The Liberty of Strangers

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Why Not All Groups Are Equal in The Liberty of Strangers

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Choosing New Members in The Liberty of Strangers

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The Drive for Authentic Americans in The Liberty of Strangers

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America Abroad at Home in The Liberty of Strangers

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Renewing the American Nation in The Liberty of Strangers

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