Unmeltable Ethnics: Politics and Culture in American Life

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Routledge, 2018 M04 27 - 486 pages
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This new, enlarged edition of an influential book originally published in 1972 as The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnicsextends the author's wise and generous view of ethnicity. Its aim "is to raise consciousness about a crucial part of the American experience: to involve each reader in self-inquiry. Who, after all, are you? What history brought you to where you are? Why are you different from others?" But the point of such inquiry is civility: "The new ethnic consciousness embodied in this book delights in recognition of subtle differences in the movements of the soul. It is not a call to separatism but to self-consciousness. It does not seek division but rather accurate, mutual appreciation."

This new edition contains six new essays by the author, including the acclaimed "Pluralism: A Humanistic Perspective." New, too, is Novak's comprehensive introduction, bringing the argument up to date. Novak describes how and why ethnicity has become a prominent issue in American politics. He also sharply denounces the current ideology of "multiculturalism" as a disfiguration of genuine ethnicity. "Multiculturalism is moved by the eros of Narcissus" Novak writes, "the new ethnicity is driven by the eros of unrestricted understanding."

When the book first appeared, Time said that "Novak has attacked the American Dream in order to open up a possible second chapter for it." Newsweek called it "a tough-minded, provocative book which could well signal an important change in American politics."

This new edition adds crucial distinctions for those seeking an intelligent path through such current-day mystifications as "multiculturalism" and "diversity." Twenty-five years ago, Novak's argument led the way in focusing on families, neighborhoods, and other "mediating institutions" of civil society. It is an argument critical to a realistic sense of national community.

 

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Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface to the Paperback Edition 1973
Acknowledgements
Confessions of a White Ethnic
Inferiority in America
Remembrance of Humiliations
THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE PEOPLE
The Concept of the AvantGarde
The Ethnic Democratic Party
The New Ethnicity
A Humanistic Perspective
Ethnicity and Cultural Diversity
How American Are You If Your Grandparents Came
One Species Many Cultures
The Social World of Individuals
Notes

Jewish and Catholic
Authentic? Authoritarian?
The New Ethnic Politics

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