1st Edition

Mainstream and Margins Revisited
Sixty Years of Commentary on Minorities in America

ISBN 9781412864299
Published January 30, 2017 by Routledge
358 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

When his book Mainstream and Margins was published in 1983, Peter Rose's writings on American minorities and those who studied them painted a vivid picture of what life was like in America for Jews, blacks, and other minorities in the United States. Now, a third of a century later, he revisits the topic, with sixteen new chapters, in addition to seven from the original edition.  Newer content covers immigration and American refugee policy; reexamines the term "model minority," first used to describe Jews, but now applied to Asian Americans; and the resurgence of nativism both in regard to new migrants from Latin America and to the growth of Islamophobia since the 9/11 attacks. Rose also reassesses what is still one of the most controversial documents about race and class ever written, Daniel Patrick Moynihan's "The Negro Family: A Case for National Action."  Rose writes about other authors who have addressed many of the principal concerns of this book, ranging from novelists Tom Wolfe and Harper Lee to sociologists David Riesman, Robin M. Williams, Jr., and William Julius Wilson. Historical tensions between Jews and African Americans and debates about "liberal" vs. "corporate" pluralism seen from the perspective of both whites and non-whites are also discussed in this seminal volume by a master on the subject.

Table of Contents

Preface: Encountering American Dilemmas
1. “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”: Some Reflections on the Insider-Outsider Debate (1978)

Part I. The Marginality of a Model Minority 2. The Ghetto and Beyond: Reflections on Jewish Life in America (1968) 3. Country Cousins: “Ambassadors to the Gentiles” (1957, 1961, 1977, 1993)
4. Going to the Mountains: Seeking Respite in “The Jewish Alps” (1990) 5. Admission to the Club: “The Mathew Principle” and College Enrollment (2006)
Part II. Black and White in American Society 6. The Black Experience: Issues and Images (1969) 7. Social Physics: The Resurgence of Ethnicity (1974) 8. Blacks and Jews: The Strained Alliance (1981, 1994)
9. The Real McCoy? A Novel Look at Racial Tensions in New York (1998) 10. Killing the Messenger: The Black Family and the Politics of Race (2011) 11. Facts, Fiction, and Literary Ethnography: The Controversy over Harper Lee’s New/Old Novel (2015)

Part III. On Strangers at the Gate 12. Long Night’s Journey: The Ordeal of the Indochinese Refugees (1982, 2003) 13. The Harbor Masters: American Politics and Refugee Policy (1984) 14. From Pariahs to Paragons: The Downs and Ups of Americans from Asia (1985) 15. The Persistence of (an) Ethnicity: Resistance to Americano Dreams (2005) 16. Making a Difference: William Allan Neilson and the Rescue of Refugee Intellectuals (2005)

Part IV. Perspectives on a Stratified Society 17. Culture and Character: David Riesman Reconsidered (1982) 18. It’s Almost 1984: Three Sociological Perspectives on Social Issues in American Society (1983) 19. White America, Circa 2010: Two Views (2011, 2012) 20. Hillsborough Boy: Robin M. Williams, Jr. and His Legacy (1999) 21. Studying “The Truly Disadvantaged”: A Portrait of William Julius Wilson (2015) 22. The Threat of the “Other”: Old Challenges, New Realities (2016)
About the Author

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Peter I. Rose is Sophia Smith Professor Emeritus and senior fellow at the Khan Institute at Smith College and visiting fellow at Stanford, USA. His recent books include Tempest-Tost (1997), The Dispossessed (2005), Postmonitions of a Peripatetic Professor (2013), and the 50th anniversary edition of They and We (2014). Transaction will soon release Mainstream and Margins: Sixty Years of Commentaries on American Pluralism.


"[F]ew have ever commented so insightfully on America’s complicated and variegated ethnic/racial heritage as Rose. . . . To rediscover his distinctive voice now, but this time speaking with as much authority and insight on contemporary issues as he did in the second half of the 20th century, is as wonderful as it is improbable.”

—Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology, Stanford University and former Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences