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Sociology of Asian Americans: Terms Essay


  • Theory of assimilation: This theory explains how people of different cultural backgrounds interact to form a new cultural identity. Assimilation may also take place when a group consisting of few members adapts to the culture of a dominant group. The theory of assimilation is commonly associated with immigrants learning the ways of the host nation’s society.
  • Social movement theory: This is the examination of the dynamics of movements of people, and the motivation and consequences of such movements. This has been closely linked with the inflow of immigrants to the US.
  • Contact Hypothesis: This method was proposed by Gordon Allport. It is used to reduce intergroup rivalry. Such rivalry springs up due to stereotyping and prejudice directed to a group by another group. When this method is used to settle rivalry, the groups in question are assisted to appreciate one another’s uniqueness by making them get in touch with each other.
  • Asian American Movement: This is a reform movement that emerged in the 1960s to empower Asians living in America by ensuring they acted as one bloc for their common good.
  • Theory of racial formation: A concept developed by Michael Omi and Howard Winant, which views race through the lens of sociological aspects as opposed to physical traits.
  • Group Position Theory: This theory posits that how interracial groups interact leads to the formation of prejudice about such groups. The argument made by this theory is that the defining characteristics of a group arise from the manner it is treated in a racially heterogeneous society.
  • USA empire/imperialism: This refers to the great influence that the US has on the world economically, militarily, and even culturally. This influence has been seen at work in its foreign policy.
  • Ethnic identity vs. Pan-ethnic identity: Ethnic identity is the isolation of a group of people into distinct identities of smaller groups of which each has unique features that are not shared across the bigger group. On the other hand, pan-ethnic identification is a general grouping of people who have a range of common features which include physical traits, religion, etc.
  • Color-blind racism: This is racism that presents itself as one that is not bent on skin color. Whoever practices this type of racism avoids directly talking about the specific race that he or she is referring to.
  • Citizenship (and its various types): Citizenship refers to the legality of a person living in a given country. This legality is obtained in various ways, with being born in a country being the most common way.
  • A contemporary example of the “yellow peril” stereotype in the media: Yellow peril referred to the danger that Asians posed on the labor market when so many of them moved to the USA. The modern-day ‘yellow peril’ is the continued expansion of China in the global market, which is feared to be taking some share of the US market.
  • Theory of segmented assimilation: This theory proposes that immigrants are incorporated into a new community in segments, that is, in phases. The theory factors in many aspects that influence the rate at which immigrants adapt to their new society.
  • Anti-miscegenation: Anti-miscegenation laws were policies set up to prohibit marriage between people of different races. These laws made it a crime for members of different races to have sexual intimacy. They simply advocated for strict racial segregation.
  • Affirmative Action: This is a remedial measurement taken to ensure that a marginalized group in the society has some leverage over others. It has been commonly associated with educational settings and is always an initiative by the government.
  • Transnational families: These are families whereby parents are immigrants working in a country different from where their children are. The case may be one or both parents working outside their home country with the children left behind.
  • In-group versus out-group: In-group is a term used to refer to a dominant group in society compared to a corresponding minority group, for instance, when comparing homosexuals and heterosexuals, the heterosexuals are said to be the in-group while the homosexuals are the out-group.
  • White flight: This is a phenomenon where whites in the US, and other European countries, move from urban centers to suburbs that are less racially heterogeneous than the urban areas. This flight has been said to be due to increasing violence in urban areas due to the interaction of people of various races.
  • Settler Colonialism: This term refers to the taking over of a region by foreign people who come in large numbers and out-populate the indigenous people. The immigration of such foreigners is often supervised by imperial authority. The foreigners under the supervision of the imperial authority take over the land by pushing out the few indigenous people in the land.
  • Primary, secondary, and ethnic enclave labor markets: Ethnic clave markets are areas that have a concentrated population of immigrants of a certain ethnic origin who are actively involved in economic activities.
  • Middle-man minorities: This term was coined by Blalock and refers to minorities who often form the link between producers and consumers. Roles taken by such groups include lending money and brokerage activities. This group often becomes very successful despite being a minority.
  • Heteronormativity: This is a concept that advocates for men and women to engage in their natural roles. This concept especially touches on sex – it proposes that the natural and normal marriage relationship is that of between a man and a woman only.
  • Digital divide: This refers to a difference created as a result of technological differences between two groups or societies in comparison. Technological differences often have financial implications, and they can be experienced within a nation or when comparing different nations, especially between the developed and the underdeveloped nations.
  • Inter-generational conflicts: These are disagreements that involve members of different generations. They are commonly witnessed between teenagers and the elderly. Such disagreements arise when the generations involved do not understand each other. Specifically, they arise when one side is unable to see the perspective of the other and consequently they end up accusing each other of refusing to be understanding.
  • 1965 Immigration Act: This Act came into enforcement after being signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The Act changed how people are admitted into the US by placing much emphasis on the skills of applicants. In this manner, more skilled people have more chances of acquiring admission to the US compared to those who are less skilled.
  • Define sociological imagination: Wright Mills coined this term. It refers to the insight that is required by a person to understand the dynamics of a society under study. Sociological imagination makes it possible for a person to undertake a critical inquiry into the ways of society.
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IvyPanda. 2021. "Sociology of Asian Americans: Terms." March 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sociology-of-asian-americans-terms/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Sociology of Asian Americans: Terms'. 23 March.

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