For most of the twentieth century, social thinkers devoted their
attention mainly to the issues of economic class. They generally
dismissed the more primordial bonds of racial, ethnic, and national
identities as irrational anachronisms that either communism or the
liberal frameworks of democracy would dissolve.
Today, communism is nearly dead and liberalism is on the wane.
At the same time, older ethno-racial tribalisms, along with some
newly invented ones, have shattered our illusions of a rationally
manageable world. They find expression in chauvinistic
nationalisms, multiculturalist ideologies, vicious civil wars,
"ethnic cleansing" of whole regions, intensified racial and ethnic
strife, a resurgence of prejudice, scapegoating, hate groups, and
nativism, as well as new group-based challenges to the
individualistic focus of Western liberalism.
Bringing together prominent historians, sociologists, and
political scientists, New Tribalisms examines early conceptions of
racial and ethnic pluralism in the United States. The volume also
confronts some of the causes, implications, and possible outcomes
of resurgent tribalisms in the country and around the world.
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