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8 - The Dynamics of Group-Conscious Policy Preferences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2014

Jack Citrin
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
David O. Sears
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

In the preceding chapter, we described the pattern of ethnic differences on a range of race-targeted, immigration, and language issues, focusing on the level of support for group-conscious policies endorsed by multiculturalism. Here, we pursue the psychological underpinnings of those policy preferences in two ways. We start with the associations of policy preferences with the affective dimensions of national identity and ethnic group identity and with how these identities are prioritized. Second, we test hypotheses about the roots of preferences in the three issue domains we focus on, using the psychological perspectives introduced in Chapter 2.

Throughout this chapter, we again concentrate on race-targeted, immigration, and language policies. But we should provide two caveats at the outset. Liberal policies in each domain generally are supported by multicultural elites. But those elites are by no means their only supporters. We identify them here with multiculturalism simply as an effort to explore fully its group-conscious agenda. Analyzing the full range of issues that have been politically debated within each domain or even the more limited set described in the preceding chapter would lead us to lose sight of the theoretical forest for the trees. Accordingly, in the race-targeted domain, we focus just on affirmative action in terms of special preferences for minorities and government assistance to blacks and other minorities. In the immigration domain, we focus on the preferred level of legal immigration. Finally, the main language policies examined are support for “official English” laws and bilingual education.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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References

Hainmuller, Jens and Hopkins, David’s review essay “Public Attitudes toward Immigration,” Annual Review of Political Science 17 (forthcoming 2014)
Sides, John and Citrin, Jack, “European Attitudes toward Immigration: The Role of Interests, Identities, and Information,” British Journal of Political Science 37, no. 3 (2007): 477–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quillian, Lincoln, “Prejudice as a Response to Perceived Group Threat: Population Composition and Anti-Immigrant and Racial Prejudice in Europe,” American Sociological Review 60 (1995): 586–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sears, David O. and Jessor, Tom, “Whites’ Racial Policy Attitudes: The Role of White Racism,” Social Science Quarterly 77 (1996): 751–59Google Scholar
Adorno, Theodore W. et al., The Authoritarian Personality (New York: Harper & Row, 1950)Google Scholar
Kinder, Donald and Kam, Cindy D., Us against Them: Ethnocentric Foundations of American Opinion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mill, John Stuart, “Of Nationality,” chapter 16, in his Considerations on Representative Government, 1861
Gellner, , Nations and Nationalism, 1984

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