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Mutual Accommodation

Mutual Accommodation: Ethnic Conflict and Cooperation

Robin M. Williams
in collaboration with Madelyn B. Rhenisch
Copyright Date: 1977
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 476
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  • Book Info
    Mutual Accommodation
    Book Description:

    Mutual Accomodation was first published in 1977. The author, who was Henry Scarborough Professor of Social Science at Cornell University, assesses the current state of ethnic and racial relations in the United States and, contrary to prevailing pessimism on the part of many other social analysts, finds that intergroup conflict has often resulted in significantly successful outcomes. In his study Professor Williams continually asks how social change occurs and what strategies and tactics are best suited to produce desired outcomes. He shows that purposive change in intergroup relations is feasible, that fairly specific knowledge about the development of strategy and tactics for certain types of consequences is available, and that there are particular conditions under which mutually satisfactory accommodation can be achieved between ethnic groups. The basic processes of conflict and settlement are illustrated in depth in the case of schools and education, with special reference to racial desegregation. Another major example is supplied by an analysis of segregation and integration in housing. The author concludes with a realistic appraisal of the prospects for an integrated but pluralistic America.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6491-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-x)
    Marvin Bressler

    Americans can no longer be reproached for their lack of a tragic sense. On all sides we are regularly reminded of the awesome disparity between the magnitude of our problems and our uncertain repertoire of countervailing strategies. Who now in the face of recent international felonies, constitutional crises, and chronic unemployment dares speak of an American Century or a Great Society except with irony or despair? The rhetoric of failure is especially marked in discussions about intergroup relations. Since the heroic period of freedom rides, the Montgomery bus boycott, the surrender of George Wallace at the University of Alabama, and...

  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Robin M. Williams Jr.
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. Chapter 1 It Can Be Done: Recovery from a National Failure of Nerve
    (pp. 3-46)

    Between 1935 and 1970—essentially within a single generation—the United States dismantled a massive system of racial segregation, abolished an elaborate set of restrictions on immigration, swept away discrimination in access to public facilities, reenfranchised millions of black Americans, and enacted one of the most sweeping set of national laws to be found in any nation concerning civil and political rights of minorities. This astounding record has been overshadowed by a later national mood, compounded by Vietnam and Watergate, of self-recrimination and pessimism. The deprecation of the liberating changes just sketched has come from Left, Right, and Center. We...

  7. Chapter 2 The Problem: Assessing Ethnic and Racial Relations
    (pp. 47-77)

    It is no longer news to report that throughout its history American society has been the scene of many severe conflicts among ethnic, racial, and religious groupings. In this it is not alone. On the recent world scene the emergence of many new nations since World War II, the civil tumults of the 1960s, and the fierce conflicts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa—all attest to the enormous importance of ethnicity as a major factor in political events, many of them violent, both at home and elsewhere in the world. Our subject is one of the most...

  8. Chapter 3 Conflict Resolution and Mutual Accommodation: The Case of the Schools
    (pp. 78-115)

    In the preceding chapters we have reviewed in a general way the overall direction of recent changes in American racial-ethnic relations and have surveyed some of the main criteria for appraising the significance of such changes. The next step is to apply the conclusions of this introductory survey of the field to particular sectors of national life. Originally we had written four lengthy chapters for this part of the book dealing with residence and housing, education, the economic sector, and political institutions (including the military and the legal system). But this treatment turned out to be too detailed and too...

  9. Chapter 4 The Fluid Mosaic: Ethnicity and Residence in American Communities
    (pp. 116-146)

    Repeated efforts have been made in many urban areas to stabilize segregated neighborhoods, to stabilize integrated neighborhoods, to break up segregated areas, or to integrate previously segregated localities. And an elaborate ideology developed during the last decade around the various demands for “community control” of local schools and other organizations and institutions.

    These developments need to be seen in historical depth. In the 1970s, some black educators favor local control. But for a half-century, community control in the South meant forced racial segregation. Again, contemporary emphasis on neighborhood schools often is linked with an assumption of stable neighborhoods. But stable...

  10. Chapter 5 Processes of Change and Stability: Basic Modes of Influence
    (pp. 147-168)

    We turn now to social processes and strategies that have to do with influence and power as seen in efforts to maintain or to change various kinds of ethnic relationships.

    Chapter 1 carried us through a quick reconnaissance of recent changes in intergroup relations in American society. We found that many significant alterations in those relations have occurred since mid-century. We then attempted to identify criteria by which to appraise such changes, and we accepted the challenge to analyze successful as well as unsuccessful intergroup encounters and relationships (Chapter 2).

    In Chapters 3 and 4 we examined in considerable detail...

  11. Chapter 6 Persuasion and Inducement
    (pp. 169-192)

    Observe this scene. At rush hour in Grand Central Station a tired businessman boards the Lexington Avenue subway. As he struggles to a hand strap in the crowded car, a heavy weight suddenly and painfully descends upon his already aching foot. Another passenger owns the foot that does the damage. The injured party, normally the soul of courtesy, prepares a vigorous insult as he glares furiously at the offender—who contritely says, “I’m sorry. Did I hurt you? I couldn’t help it.” Suddenly the symptoms of righteous rage disappear; the victim says, “Oh, that’s okay. No problem.”

    Does not the...

  12. Chapter 7 The Uses of Constraint: Power, Authority, and Threat Systems in Intergroup Relations
    (pp. 193-214)

    Relations among ethnic, racial, and religious collectivities frequently involve overt conflict and even more often entail inequalities of power and social rewards. Because such collectivities in the United States are subordinate segments of a large and complex nation-state, relations among them inevitably have a strong political aspect. If continuous strife is to be avoided, or even somewhat controlled, some societal rules concerning intergroup struggles must be established—and then changed when relative power and other basic conditions change. For other reasons to be explored in this chapter, any realistic consideration of intergroup relations must pay close attention to power, authority,...

  13. Chapter 8 Strategy and Tactics in Collective Action
    (pp. 215-237)

    Particular efforts to alter the behavior of other persons (even apart from unintended or accidental influences) occur in such endless variety as to appear incomprehensible in all their details. But as we have seen, most of the patterns of influence nevertheless can be identified under the three broad headings of persuasion, inducement, or constraint (Gamson, 1968, 74-81). Between the unlimited particularity of concrete instances and the abstractness of such generalized categories are middle-range generalizations about strategies and tactics in purposive collective action.

    The central idea of strategy developed historically from military experience, as indicated by the dictionary meanings given to...

  14. Chapter 9 Composite Strategies in Social Policies and Programs
    (pp. 238-256)

    We have now examined in succession the important kinds of attempted influence and social control that shape intergroup relations. We have seen some of the uses and limitations of several types of persuasion, inducement, and constraint. A diverse array of tactics and strategies has been examined from the standpoint of aspiring partisans and from the perspective of social authorities. It is time now to pause in order to emphasize the interconnections among the separable components of strategies of collective action that already have been described one by one. In the everyday world of practical action one deals with concrete situations,...

  15. Chapter 10 Effects of Persuasion, Inducement, and Participation
    (pp. 257-280)

    We have noted that persuasion is a relatively low-cost process that is effective under quite specific conditions, many of which were reviewed in Chapters 5 and 6.

    In general, the successful short-run uses of persuasion are found in relationships of trust in which the persons to be persuaded are either neutral or already favorably disposed. On the other hand, persuasion often has almost no short-run efficacy against the opposition of solidary groups that are defending strong interests and rigidly held values and beliefs that are supported by high ingroup consensus.

    The attempt to persuade or convert one’s opponent often depends...

  16. Chapter 11 Consequences of the Use of Constraint
    (pp. 281-313)

    The various appraisals by intelligent and knowledgeable observers of the effects of strategies of constraint in our society show surprising divergences. At one extreme, we are told in effect that all forms of noncooperation and coercion are self-defeating. Other views seem to say that nonviolent coercion sometimes is effective, but that violence is counterproductive (Sharp, 1973). And at the other extreme, an impressive roster of societal analysts and advocates see the effective threat of violence as indispensable for the attainment of justice by partisans or for the maintenance of legitimate order by authorities.

    Here, clearly, we confront once again the...

  17. Chapter 12 An End to Conflict? Terminations, Settlements, and Resolutions
    (pp. 314-369)

    Given that a particular conflict exists, we may wish to know several important things about that conflict. Such additional desirable knowledge may include: what the possibleoutcomesare; what conceivablemodes of terminationexist; what conditions affect the selection of strategies and methods ofattempted settlement;what factors favor or militate against theinstitutionalizationof arrangements for regulating or settling conflicts. And, of course, we shall want to learn anything we can about the factors that are important in accounting forthe success or failure of attempted resolutions. These are the concerns of this chapter.

    In any sustained review of...

  18. Chapter 13 Realism and Utopia: The Prospects for Social Maturity
    (pp. 370-406)

    In the last quarter of the twentieth century we look upon a world of rapid population growth, present and impending famines, and ominous signs of ecological threats. At the same time, we are continuously confronted with the fact of numerous violent collective conflicts between nations and within them in nearly every part of the world. Just when the beneficial possibilities of technological development, increased knowledge, and more efficient social organization had seemed most promising, the possibility of ever greater catastrophes has come into the foreground. Is there a sane perspective that can guide and steady our judgments—somewhere between Doomsday...

  19. Notes
    (pp. 409-414)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 417-448)
  21. Index
    (pp. 451-458)