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Germania, USA

Germania, USA: Social Change in New Ulm, Minnesota

NOEL IVERSON
Copyright Date: 1966
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttvbj0
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  • Book Info
    Germania, USA
    Book Description:

    An unusual community in southern Minnesota, New Ulm, a town of about 12,000 inhabitants, is the subject of this sociological study. New Ulm was founded in 1856 by a group of German immigrants who came to the United States as refugees from the revolution of 1848 in Germany. They were members of the Turnverein, a society of liberal thinkers who were a political minority in Germany. In founding New Ulm they established a “utopian” ethnic community, became the town’s status elite, and for a long time monopolized its economic, political, and cultural life. Professor Iverson analyzes four aspects of sociological change in the community -- class, status, power, and assimilation. Each aspect is viewed according to the differences found between two generations of the upper status group, the Turners, and two corresponding generations of non-Turners. In addition to its substantive contribution to our knowledge of ethnic settlements, the study demonstrates a gain in methodological precision over many earlier studies of ethnic communities. Its chief methodological innovation is in the use of scales to verify and measure the changing structure of class, status, and power, and to gauge the extent of assimilation. The book is of interest not only to sociologists, especially those concerned with the study of community change, but also to political scientists interested in the study of community power structures. Also, the methodology will be instructive to those interested in the design of community studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6310-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. v-viii)
    Noel Iverson
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. I. THEORY AND METHOD

    • chapter 1 GERMANIA AS AN ETHNIC COMMUNITY
      (pp. 3-22)

      Immigrants, millions upon millions, have been America’s most vital import, the bone and flesh and spirit of the American heritage. They set the style and tempo of American life. Each wave of immigrants led to the formation of ethnic communities on American soil. These communities were, so to speak, held briefly in crystalline suspension until the processes of acculturation and assimilation dissolved them in the solution of American society (though they have by no means vanished without a trace). They remained in suspension as long as the national or majority community reacted to their presence with a combination of prejudice...

  5. II. A HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS

    • chapter 2 OLD WORLD ROOTS
      (pp. 25-52)

      A full appreciation of the uniqueness of Germania as an ethnic community under the Turners requires an understanding of their experience as a minority both in Germany and in North America. Pressures brought to bear on the Turners forced them to become a political minority in Germany, an ethnic minority in the United States. Their experience as a semilegal political action group in Germany imbued them with a utopian fervor and a minority outlook, which in turn impelled them to translate their aspirations into the social reality of an ethnic community in North America.

      The dual response of prejudice and...

    • chapter 3 THE FOUNDING OF THE TOWN
      (pp. 53-72)

      Germania, U.S.A., was founded at a time when Know-Nothingism was most intense; when Daniel Hertle, president of the Turnerbund in 1857, resolved that “theTurner[sic] are prepared to fight slavery, nativism, or any other deprivation of rights because of color, religion, place of birth, or sex, since such attitudes are not compatible with a cosmopolitanWeltanschauung.”¹ In response to outside pressures, and acting in accordance with their own utopian ideals, the Turners organized a colonization society to aid Turners and their friends to find good sites on which to settle and build a life of their own.² In discussing...

  6. III. CLASS, STATUS, AND POWER

    • chapter 4 CLASS AND CHALLENGE
      (pp. 75-90)

      My second general hypothesis maintains that forces intrinsic to the Turner ethnic community account for its becoming a status subcommunity. It will be tested by contrasting first and second generations of Turners and non-Turners with respect to predicted changes in the four dimensions of class, status, power, and assimilation. Descriptive data from the research instrument and from historical sources bearing on these hypotheses will be presented before a statistical analysis of differences, in which the scale results will form the conclusive test of each working hypothesis, is made.

      The theoretical basis for the concepts of class, status, and power as...

    • chapter 5 STATUS DISTINCTION AND ETHNIC AMALGAMATION
      (pp. 91-120)

      Consolidating their prestige in Germania, forming an honorific in-group, the Turners abandoned Turnerism. Thus the link between ethnicity and status was, for Germania’s Turners, inverse and causal: prestige in the wider community was won at the expense of their Old World heritage. Whatever might be said about the outcome, the decision of the Turners to transfer their entire loyalty to America was a matter of deliberate policy. Turnerism was identified with Americanism as early as 1872, when the National Executive Committee of the American Gymnastic Union announced its disassociation from German Turnerism.¹ Earlier, in 1853, the American Turnvereine had resolved...

    • chapter 6 THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF POWER IN GERMANIA
      (pp. 121-138)

      The Turners, not surprisingly, exercise considerable influence in Germania. Power, wealth, prestige — these attributes commonly join to form a pace-setting combination of talents among an upper status group: “The power position of groups and of individuals typically depends upon factors of class, status, and occupation, often in intricate interrelations.”¹ Turners are not alone, however, in the local arena of power and influence; other groups share in the maintenance of social order.²

      Power, as here considered (and as it appears in Germania), is a multifaceted phenomenon, understood in terms of the varied means which different groups employ to exercise it...

  7. IV. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

    • chapter 7 THE TURNERS’ RETREAT FROM MONOPOLY
      (pp. 141-150)

      Germania, U.S.A., is no longer its own town, if ever it was, and it has ceased to be a “Turner town.” The pace of the change that has swept the world since Germania was founded — just two years before the publication of Darwin’sOrigin of Speciesand Marx’sCritique of Political Economy, and from today’s perspective the world of 1857 was another, more constant world — has spared few communities, however small or remote. Only a careful cataloguing and skillful ordering of the regional, national, and international events of the past century could recreate the story of Germania’s transformation...

  8. appendix 1 TABLES AND ANALYSES OF REJECTED CASES
    (pp. 153-158)
  9. appendix 2 STRUCTURAL AND GENERATIONAL PROBLEMS OF GERMANIA: Method of Study
    (pp. 159-167)
  10. appendix 3 QUESTIONNAIRE USED IN THE STUDY
    (pp. 168-174)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 177-181)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 182-188)