Study Questions

  • Summarize Gordon’s model of assimilation. Identify and explain each stage and how the stages are linked together. Explain Table 2.2 in terms of Gordon’s model.

  • “Human capital theory is not so much wrong as it is incomplete.” Explain this statement. What does the theory leave out? What are the strengths of the theory? What questionable assumptions does it make?

  • What are the major dimensions along which the experience of assimilation varies?

  • Explain how and why the experience of assimilation can vary.

  • Define pluralism and explain the ways in which it differs from assimilation. Why has interest in pluralism increased? Explain the difference between and cite examples of structural and cultural pluralism. Describe enclave minority groups in terms of pluralism and in terms of Gordon’s model of assimilation. How have contemporary theorists added to the concept of pluralism?

  • Define and explain segmented assimilation and explain how it differs from Gordon’s model. What evidence is there that assimilation for recent immigrants is not segmented? What is the significance of this debate for the future of U.S. society? For other minority groups (e.g., African Americans)? For the immigrants themselves?