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Negotiating Separateness and Accommodation: An Informed Reconsideration of Multiculturalism

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Research paper

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In an age marked by widespread human migration, transnational security threats, and other political, economic, and social pressures born of globalization, strategic leaders must understand the dynamics of cultural assimilation to realize the promise and reduce the risk of contemporary immigration trends. For harmonious reconciliation to occur, the identities and goals of both the immigrant and the receiving state must be established, understood, and be mutually receptive to negotiation. A comparative study of the immigrant assimilation experiences of the Amish in America from 1737 until the present and of Muslims in France since the end of the colonial era explores two varied but tenable cases of immigrant-state interaction. While the second foil is far more germane to the current concern about the demographic trends in Europe, the Amish case provides a valuable contrast that may offer possible, positive ways forward in dealing with current immigration issues, both in the United States and Europe. Some would argue that the very small size of the Amish minority paired with their fervent desire to remain separate makes their experience an irrelevant or prohibitively exceptional case in comparison to the dramatic immigration-born challenges in France. In fact, this is precisely why this foil was selected. The Amish example marks a reconciliation of differences at a very low level of integration that is nonetheless remarkably free from conflict. For this reason, it is a case that serves to extract and distill, as extremes will do, the possibilities that may exist on the cultural assimilation spectrum between the markers of separateness and accommodation. Additionally, the two selected foils provide a thought-provoking divergence of cultural assimilation strategies adopted by the immigrant group, the state, and the broader receiving society.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Humanities and History

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