Language Policy & Identity In The U.S.

Temple University Press
1
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Well over thirty million people in the United States speak a primary language other than English. Nearly twenty million of them speak Spanish. And these numbers are growing. Critics of immigration and multiculturalism argue that recent government language policies such as bilingual education, non-English election materials, and social service and workplace "language rights" threaten the national character of the United States. Proponents of bilingualism, on the other hand, maintain that, far from being a threat, these language policies and programs provide an opportunity to right old wrongs and make the United States a more democratic society.

This book lays out the two approaches to language policy  -- linguistic assimilation and linguistic pluralism -- in clear and accessible terms. Filled with examples and narratives, it provides a readable overview of the U.S. "culture wars" and explains why the conflict has just now emerged as a major issue in the United States. 

Professor Schmidt examines bilingual education in the public schools, "linguistic access" rights to public services, and the designation of English as the United States' "official" language. He illuminates the conflict by describing the comparative, theoretical, and social contexts for the debate. The source of the disagreement, he maintains, is not a disagreement over language per se but over identity and the consequences of identity for individuals, ethnic groups, and the country as a whole. Who are "the American people"? Are we one national group into which newcomers must assimilate? Or are we composed of many cultural communities, each of which is a unique but integral part of the national fabric? This fundamental point is what underlies the specific disputes over language policy. This way of looking at identity politics, as Professor Schmidt shows, calls  into question the dichotomy between "material interest" politics and "symbolic" politics in relation to group identities.

Not limited to describing the nature and context of the language debate, Language Policy and Identity Politics in the United States reaches the conclusion that a policy of linguistic pluralism, coupled with an immigrant settlement policy and egalitarian economic reforms, will best meet the aims of justice and the common good. Only by attacking both the symbolic and material effects of racialization will the United States be able to attain the goals of social equality and national harmony.
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About the author

Ronald Schmidt, Sr., is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Temple University Press
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Published on
Nov 9, 2010
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781439906095
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Policy
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Ronald Schmidt
"The authors have done a commendable and impressive job of addressing a topic of long-lasting and increasing significance in U.S. politics."
---F. Chris Garcia, University of New Mexico



"This is a path-breaking book that will be read across disciplines beyond political science."
---James Jennings, Tufts University



Over the past four decades, the United States has experienced the largest influx of immigrants in its history. Not only has the ratio of European to non-European newcomers changed, but recent arrivals are coming from the Asian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, South America, and other regions which have not previously supplied many immigrants to the United States.



In this timely study, a team of political scientists examines how the arrival of these newcomers has affected the efforts of long-standing minority groups---Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Americans---to gain equality through greater political representation and power. The authors predict that, for some time to come, the United States will function as a complex multiracial hierarchy, rather than as a genuine democracy.



Ronald Schmidt, Sr. is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach.



Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh is Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Office for Women's Affairs (OWA) at Indiana University, Bloomington.



Andrew L. Aoki is Professor of Political Science at Augsburg College.



Rodney E. Hero is the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.

Elisabeth Rosenthal
A New York Times bestseller.

At a moment of drastic political upheaval, An American Sickness is a shocking investigation into our dysfunctional healthcare system - and offers practical solutions to its myriad problems.

In these troubled times, perhaps no institution has unraveled more quickly and more completely than American medicine. In only a few decades, the medical system has been overrun by organizations seeking to exploit for profit the trust that vulnerable and sick Americans place in their healthcare. Our politicians have proven themselves either unwilling or incapable of reining in the increasingly outrageous costs faced by patients, and market-based solutions only seem to funnel larger and larger sums of our money into the hands of corporations. Impossibly high insurance premiums and inexplicably large bills have become facts of life; fatalism has set in. Very quickly Americans have been made to accept paying more for less. How did things get so bad so fast?

Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers—that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before. How did healthcare, the caring endeavor, become healthcare, the highly profitable industry? Hospital systems, which are managed by business executives, behave like predatory lenders, hounding patients and seizing their homes. Research charities are in bed with big pharmaceutical companies, which surreptitiously profit from the donations made by working people. Patients receive bills in code, from entrepreneurial doctors they never even saw. 

The system is in tatters, but we can fight back. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal doesn't just explain the symptoms, she diagnoses and treats the disease itself. In clear and practical terms, she spells out exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket, and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship and to hospital C-suites, explaining step-by-step the workings of a system badly lacking transparency. This is about what we can do, as individual patients, both to navigate the maze that is American healthcare and also to demand far-reaching reform. An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a healthcare system that no longer has our well-being at heart.
Ronald Schmidt
"The authors have done a commendable and impressive job of addressing a topic of long-lasting and increasing significance in U.S. politics."
---F. Chris Garcia, University of New Mexico



"This is a path-breaking book that will be read across disciplines beyond political science."
---James Jennings, Tufts University



Over the past four decades, the United States has experienced the largest influx of immigrants in its history. Not only has the ratio of European to non-European newcomers changed, but recent arrivals are coming from the Asian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, South America, and other regions which have not previously supplied many immigrants to the United States.



In this timely study, a team of political scientists examines how the arrival of these newcomers has affected the efforts of long-standing minority groups---Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Americans---to gain equality through greater political representation and power. The authors predict that, for some time to come, the United States will function as a complex multiracial hierarchy, rather than as a genuine democracy.



Ronald Schmidt, Sr. is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach.



Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh is Associate Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Office for Women's Affairs (OWA) at Indiana University, Bloomington.



Andrew L. Aoki is Professor of Political Science at Augsburg College.



Rodney E. Hero is the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.

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