Sunday, April 2, 2017

Putnam on the challenge posed by diversity
"It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity.  It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable."

     Robert D. Putnam, "E pluribus unum:  diversity and community in the twenty-first century:  The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture," Scandanavian political studies 30, no. 2 (2007):  165 (137-174).  And how should it be addressed?
the central challenge for modern, diversifying societies is to create a new, broader sense of ‘we’ [(139)]. 
a society will more easily reap the benefits of immigration, and overcome the challenges, if immigration policy focuses on the reconstruction of ethnic identities, reducing their social salience without eliminating their personal importance.  In particular, it seems important to encourage permeable, syncretic, 'hyphenated' identities; identities that enable previously separate ethnic groups to see themselves, in part, as members of a shared group with a shared identity [(161)]. 
at the end we shall see that the challenge is best met not by making 'them' like 'us', but rather by creating a new, more capacious sense of 'we', a reconstruction of diversity that does not bleach out ethnic specificities, but creates overarching identities that ensure that those specificities do not trigger the allergic, 'hunker down' reaction [I've shown is the invariable aggregate response to a rise in or stress upon diversity (163)].

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