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Assimilation | ... in the spirit of service



Assimilation was a Yahoo Group about what that term and concept should mean in the 21st century. I set it up in 2004 because I was a bit troubled by the way the term "assimilation" is used in public discourse in the U.S. On the one hand, the concept seems overdue for a thoughtful reconceptualization in light of changes in transportation, communications, globalization, international interdependence, and understanding of human rights. On the other, it has several dimensions depending on the viewpoints of who is talking and the context (there being many).

This list was inactive after 2008, though I still believe the topic still merits discussion. (A blog post elsewhere on this site discusses this: "Assimilation - in the 21st century?").

I did most of the posting on this list. An effort will be made to make the archives available and searchable after the Yahoogroups shutdown.

2004 - 2008

(see/search the list archives until 14 Dec 2019)

Group description

Assimilation is a process by which individuals of a more or less distinct group are integrated - or perhaps 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.

Assimilation (this group) seeks to explore:

What "assimilation" means in an era of globalization, easy digital communication, transnational integration (e.g., the European Union), and migration.

  • What are the issues/differences of assimilation as national policy, as socio-cultural process, and as personal/community aspiration? Are there different kinds or degrees of "assimilation" at each level?
  • What other related terms like "acculturation" and "integration" mean in this context.

''These questions bring up other issues, such as:

  • Forms of multiculturalism and national identities (e.g., what is the difference between "(im)migrant" and "expatriate"?)
  • The changing nature of citizenship (and implications for the future of the nation-state).
  • Is it possible to speak of assimilation to an emerging "global culture"? (And implications 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 the changing realities that peoples and nations are living today? Are we now defining "Assimilation 2.0"?

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